Shovels turned dirt during a groundbreaking ceremony Friday at Redstone Arsenal’s Enhanced Use Lease area signifying the beginning of construction efforts to make the Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville a geographic member of Team Redstone.
On Sept. 10, Huntsville Center awarded a new lease executed by Corps of Engineers’ Mobile District Real-Estate Office to Corporate Office Property Trust for construction of a new headquarters facility for the center.
Participating in the ceremony were representative of Huntsville Center, Redstone Arsenal, Mobile District Real Estate Office, Corporate Office Property Trust (EUL development), Robins & Morten (construction firm) and Nola VanPeursem (architects).
Huntsville Center’s deputy commander, Lt. Col. Benjamin Summers, said getting to the point of breaking ground for the new construction has been a long time coming.
“Today represents a culmination of five years of multiple contract actions and awards working through significant challenges to get where we are today,” Summers said.
Nathaniel Durham, Huntsville Center command program manager, said the new 205,000 square foot facility is expected to be a purpose built, three-story building allowing the center to consolidate its off-post leases, consolidate the center’s workforce, and provide a more secure environment for the center’s staff.
“The new facility will allow us all to be on post near our Team Redstone partners giving us an opportunity to further build those relationships with those we support,” Durham said.
Durham said construction is scheduled to begin this month with full completion expected in 2024.
From its original location in leased offices at Huntsville’s expansive Cummings Research Park, the then-named Huntsville Division began its operations in 1967 with less than 100 employees supporting the Army Ballistic Missile Defense program.
Over the years, Huntsville Division’s mission grew to provide specialized support to the Corps of Engineers by executing projects and programs requiring unique technical expertise that are generally national or very broad in scope, and not normally accomplished by other Corps of Engineers elements.
Under USACE reorganization, Huntsville Division became Huntsville Center in 1994 and within a year relocated to a facility at University Place in Huntsville, a facility built to accommodate about 600 employees.
Since then, the center has grown to employ more than 1,000 people and adapted its missions to provide specialized solutions across a broad spectrum of global enterprise covering five main lines of effort: Energy, Operational Technology, Environmental, Medical, and Base Operations and Facilities.
As the center surpassed 1,000 employees, it relocated most of its workforce in 2018 to its current location at 475 Quality Circle, situated at the city’s Thornton Research Park.