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Even as the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the normality of day-to-day life, Soldier’s readiness is still a top priority for the Army.

The Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville is supporting Army readiness by delivering the program during these uncertain times.

Last September, Huntsville Center’s Range and Training Land Program prepared a programming cost estimate for a shoothouse at Fort Carson, Colorado, in support of the Army Special Operations Command’s project approval and funding process.

The center’s RTLP team provided an estimate of total funds requested to execute the project. The programmed amount included contracting, design, planning, construction, supervision, overhead, quality control and contract close out costs.

In mid-February, the 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Carson informed the RTLP team that approximately $1.2 million was approved and the project needed to be awarded for construction this fiscal year.

By teaming efforts, the RTLP team was able to support the 10th SFG by developing a design-build request for proposal deliverables for the shoothouse by the end of April.

“This was a product of a multiple virtual charrettes with Huntsville Center’s in-house team (architecture, site development, structural, specifications and fire protection) and (the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) Omaha District to work out the requirements with 10th SFG and develop the technical documents package,” Kent Ingram, RTLP project manager, said.

Huntsville Center is the designated Range and Training Land Program Mandatory Center of Expertise, providing centralized management and engineering support to all parts of the Training Support System enterprise including the Sustainable Range, Soldier Training Support and Mission Command Training Support programs.

The RTLP MCX assists the Department of the Army and installations in planning, site development, programming and design of ranges – both military construction, and Operations and Maintenance funded. The goal is to standardize ranges and training, while decreasing the overall cost of range design, construction, operation and maintenance as well as implementing new technologies to improve training capability in support of new weapons systems and tactics.

The RTLP MCX is the centralized repository for information and expertise in planning, programming, design and construction of automated ranges, Training Support Centers, Combat Training Complex standards and Mission Training Complex standards, and projects for the TSS Program.

Ingram said the engineering drawings, key specifications and site layout are the “thinking” part of the technical piece of the request for proposal.

“The documents are the product of the discussions, meetings and agreements with the product development team,” he said.

What makes this project unique is that it all came together under restricted travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring all meetings to be conducted virtually.

“No face-to-face meeting,” Ingram said. “This was truly a virtual design charrette.”

Another challenge associated with the project was that a prior concept design existed.

“The team had to go through it and decide which pieces to use and which not to use,” Ingram said. “We had to re-validate the requirements baseline with the user/group engineer and build technical consensus and execution strategy/timeline with Omaha District, Huntsville Center engineers, Fort Carson range control and the 10th Special Forces Group engineer.”

The work conducted by the Huntsville and Omaha teams both exceeded the expectations during these COVID-19 struggles, said 1st Lt. Gregory Woerner, 10th SFG deputy engineer.

“The new shoothouse is critical to 10th SFG readiness and without it, our Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat trainers lack the infrastructure required to meet their training requirements and could delay future SFAUC classes and negatively impact the entire unit,” Woerner said.

“Through coordination we were able to agree on a virtual charrette despite everyone’s concerns,” he said. “The Huntsville team was able to gather the necessary information from 10th SFG and their own architects and engineers to deliver a product that will meet the end user’s intent. The Huntsville Center team was able to turn the project over to the Omaha District for their awarding process and allow their team to digest the project before a contractor would execute the design-build process.”

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