January 29, 2009

Virginia Guard breaks ground for new 183rd RTI

By Maj. Cotton Puryear
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

183rd RTI

The Virginia National Guard conducted a formal ceremony Jan. 22 to break ground on the new 183rd Regional Training Institute Headquarters at Fort Pickett.(Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — The Virginia National Guard conducted a ceremony to break ground on a new headquarters building and training center for the Fort Pickett-based 183rd Regional Training Institute Jan. 22. The ceremony marks the first phase of a two-phase construction project for the RTI, the Virginia Guard’s primary training unit.

The first phase of construction is contracted for approximately $25 million through Norfolk District, Army Corps of Engineers with Barton Malow Company of Charlottesville, Va. Phase 1 has a 22-month design-build schedule and is expected to be complete in August 2010.

“Today we dedicate a building that is long overdue,” said Maj. Gen. Robert. B. Newman, Jr., the Adjutant General of Virginia. “This project will bring modernization to the education of our Soldiers and other service members. We will have a modern, state of the art facility that will embrace the education of the Soldiers for the many missions that await them.”

Newman said that when you couple the RTI with the already modern range facilities at Fort Pickett like the Multi-Purpose Range Complex, the urban training site, the convoy fire course and other facilities, Fort Pickett will be one of the premier training sites on the East Coast.

“It is a great day for Fort Pickett, the Virginia National Guard and the town of Blackstone,” said Lt. Col. Walt Mercer, commander of the 183rd RTI. “The Virginia RTI consistently gets feedback from Guard Bureau and Department of the Army and most importantly our students that our training and trainers is truly outstanding, but the one consistent issue we hear is that our classroom and billeting facilities are lacking and antiquated. This new modern facility will resolve this and allow RTI to take our training to the next level of professionalism.”

Mercer said this project reflects the Guard’s focus on investing in Fort Pickett with a long term goal of increasing the unit’s ability to train more Soldiers. The RTI expects to see a trend of training more active component Soldiers in addition to the primarily Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers the organization mostly trained in the past, he said.

The 183rd RTI is made up of three battalions that teach a variety of military skills courses. The 1st Battalion focuses on basic infantry training, as well as training noncommissioned officers, Army Combatives and Rappel Master. This mission for the 2nd Battalion is basic transportation training. The 3rd Battalion teaches basic military police skills other general studies courses, as well as having responsibility for the Virginia National Guard Office Candidate School and Warrant Officer Candidate School. Approximately 1,200 Soldiers trained at RTI in 2008.

The key features of Phase 1 construction are:

  • An approximately 8,000 square foot regimental headquarters building that will house offices, administrative work space and a conference room for the command group, operations and staff sections and the headquarters company.

  • An approximately 61,500 square foot education building with administrative and office space for the RTI’s three training battalions, classrooms, a library, learning center, maintenance classroom, medical aid station, supply area and fitness center.

  • An approximately 9,700 square foot Officer Candidate School Building with offices, administrative work space, conference room, classrooms and counseling areas.

  • An approximately 4,900 square foot 250-seat auditorium with stage

“We are under contract for Phase 1 right now, and hoping to receive congressional appropriation for Phase 2 in Fiscal Year 2010,” said Maj. Christopher S. Dunn, the construction project manager for the Virginia National Guard.

Dunn said that funding for Phase 2 has not been appropriated by Congress yet, but it is planned to include a regimental dining hall and three barracks buildings. The estimated cost of Phase 2 approximately $30 million, and if funding is approved, Phase 2 could be completed by October 2012.

183rd RTI

An artist rendering shows the planned design for the new 183rd Regional Training Institute Headquarters.


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