Construction on a new Physical Readiness Training field located on the north side of the Noncommissioned Officers Academy, or NCOA, parking area is in full swing and will give noncommissioned officers a fitness field incorporating the latest in Army training.
The intent of the new field is to provide the NCOA with a larger and more modern physical training, or PT, area that is designed to accommodate the recent fitness changes within the Army and the Academy, according to Lt. Col. Phil Graves, master planner, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence.
This project was fully funded in fiscal year 2012 and initially began construction in September 2012, but due to modifications, was placed on hold until recently. Work has resumed with an anticipated completion date of June 2013 and is not affected by the current budgetary constraints Fort Huachuca is facing.
Since 2008, the throughput of students at the NCOA has grown by 405 students, with a larger increase of students expected over the next three years. To prepare for this, the NCOA requires additional space and equipment.
The Department of the Army announced a new physical training publication, TC 3-22.20 Physical Readiness Training, in August 2010. This publication completely changed the way PT is conducted, requiring kettlebells, step-up benches, climbing bars, and adequate space for the newly introduced military movement drills.
The USAICoE NCOA PT field will incorporate all the latest fitness requirements.
“We currently have kettlebells, but right now we have them stored [off site] and when it is time to use them, we come in before PT and move them out to the PT field, use them, and bring them back to the storage,” explained Sgt. Maj. Carlos Magwood, deputy commandant, NCOA. “Part of the new build is to have that storage collocated with the field.”
Presently, Soldiers gather outside the Academy at 6 a.m. and then march five to ten minutes to Bujalski Field for PT. The new location will provide a safer environment for the NCOA students, preventing them from crossing heavily trafficked streets during early morning hours in low lighting.
Conducting PT at Bujalski Field also requires the students to train amongst a large number of other Soldiers, limiting available space. Each platoon is required to have 45 feet by 45 feet to perform the necessary drills within the regulations.
Sizing in at 300 feet by 80 feet, the new field will be able to facilitate six platoons, or 96 personnel, at the very minimum. Around the perimeter, an additional 10 feet will be added to facilitate the strength development equipment as well.
“Cadre and students alike will have the space to focus training within the immediate confines of the Academy without distraction or disruption,” said Graves.
Other specific components of the field include completely enclosed fencing, perimeter LED lighting, an underground water containment system and new and updated equipment.
Kevin Blackwell, an architect with the Fort Huachuca Directorate of Public Works, explained the planning of the field was conducted with environmentally-friendly features in mind.
“It is going to have artificial turf, like the other field adjacent to it, so there won’t be any requirement for irrigation,” he said. “It’s very low maintenance. It’s a very durable surface to do activities on and it has an eight-year warranty on the grass. It will basically be there forever.”
Fort Huachuca’s DPW is working side-by-side with Vernadero Group, Inc., an exclusive Department of Defense contractor that tailors their services to provide high-quality, cost-effective, performance-based environmental, planning and engineering solutions to DoD and commands worldwide. Together, they are ensuring that a state-of-the-art PT field is completed, while accommodating the Army guidelines as well.
The official name is pending, and as the completion of the NCOA PT field approaches, a dedication or opening ceremony will be announced to the public.
For information or questions, call 533.4238 or 533.3404.