The Fort Carson Army Field Support Battalion hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of new facilities at the Ammunition Supply Point on Fort Carson, Colorado, on March 19. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District’s Fort Carson South office oversaw the construction of an ammunition storehouse, repackaging and inspection facility and four earth-covered magazine bunkers.
Groundbreaking for the project took place in September 2018 and finished in November 2020. The 4th Sustainment Brigade began using the facilities in August 2020. This project was an expansion of the existing ASP buildings, which were constructed in 1964 and 1979.
“Over time, [the former ASP] became too small with cramped quarters for workers and limited internet access for the automation systems,” according to a press release from the Fort Carson Public Affairs Office.
Although the new ASP facilities have been in use since August 2020, the official ribbon cutting ceremony was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our capabilities now allow us and our team to more efficiently serve the readiness needs of all units on Fort Carson, along with the National Guard component forces in our vicinity,” said Kristin Lakes, Supply Division Chief, AFSBN-Carson.
The Corps awarded an approximately $18 million contract to HHI Corporation to build a 16,200-square-foot ammunition storehouse, 23,090-square-foot repackaging and inspection facility and four 2,130-square-foot magazines.
The ammunition storehouse is where units turn in ammunition after training. The front of the building houses the administrative offices for the whole ASP. The rest of the building is used for sorting used and live ammunition and storing ammunition residue for recycling.
At the repackaging and inspection surveillance facility, live ammunition is processed and partially used ammunition is packaged for reuse.
The four new earth-covered magazines, along with the twenty existing magazines, are used for longer-term containment of heavy ammunition loads. The magazines were constructed to keep explosions contained and prevent damage to surrounding magazines. These structures were constructed with the Protective Design Center, a Center of Expertise within USACE.
Fort Carson is already seeing the benefits of this expansion project. According to Lt. Col. Angel R. Ortiz, Commander, Army Field Support Battalion-Carson, there is a “25% increased capacity in the service of the personnel of these facilities.” With the extra space from the expansion, over 2100 lines of live ammunition can be stored and over 171 lines of issues and turnings can be processed per week. These larger, more efficient facilities opened at the perfect time—all three brigade combat teams are training at Fort Carson, so there is a huge demand for the ASP’s services.
The Corps of Engineers considered Fort Carson’s needs when expanding the ASP facilities.
“It’s a huge Army base, lots of infantry, tanks, they’re firing all sorts of shells, ammunition, on a day-to-day basis,” said Greg Sipes, ASP Project Engineer and Contracting Officer Representative for the USACE Fort Carson South office.
As the Project Engineer and Contracting Officer Representative, Sipes was directly involved in overcoming these issues. In his role, Sipes worked with the contractor to maintain the budget and ensure that the contractor followed the rules of the contract.
One of the biggest challenges the Fort Carson South office faced during construction was the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We wanted to build certain parts of the facilities in a certain order, but sometimes the materials were not available because the manufacturing shut down,” said Sipes.
To accommodate these shortages, Sipes worked with the contractor to change the sequence of construction based on the materials that were available.
The windy, snowy conditions at Fort Carson also affected the construction schedule. Despite these setbacks, careful planning ensured that the project finished quickly and efficiently.
Sipes cited the good relationship between the Fort Carson South office and the project’s contractor as one of the reasons for the ASP project’s success. He said that teamwork and good communication between USACE and the contractor allowed them to effectively coordinate and find solutions.
“The users went from old, neglected buildings, very small, to these new facilities, and they are ecstatic. I love that we’re giving the Army and its customers a good product,” said Sipes.