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The Ordnance Mechanical Maintenance School BRAC Office

The Ordnance Mechanical Maintenance School (OMMS) is in the process of moving from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to Fort Lee, Virginia. This move is the result of the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) Commission report that recommends consolidating the Army logistics schools at Fort Lee. OMMS established a BRAC office to coordinate the move, and the office has faced many challenges. The move has been complicated by several overlapping factors.

The OMMS move was not a simple relocation from one site to another because no movement could begin until there was somewhere to move. The new Ordnance School campus first had to be built. The new home of the Ordnance Corps at Fort Lee is being built on a former field training exercise site. The site, which used to be a large forested area, is separated from the main post by a state highway. Various buildings have been completed or are nearing completion, and a few have recently been turned over to the Ordnance Center and Schools.

New construction at Aberdeen Proving Ground for incoming tenants could not begin until some existing buildings were vacated or demolished. Tenant organizations at Aberdeen Proving Ground sent requests to the garrison to move into other Ordnance School buildings upon OMMS’s departure. Some were very anxious to acquire this added space as their missions continued and expanded on post. Tenants continue to request tours of OMMS facilities to determine possible uses for the space.

To accommodate all interested parties, the OMMS BRAC Office serves as the move coordinator and liaison for these activities and to answers their many requests and accomplish overlapping tasks. Before turning a building over to the garrison, the BRAC Office has to develop mitigation plans, especially if the building occupants are not scheduled to proceed to Fort Lee for some time.

The completion of these projects is still a couple of years away, so construction continues on both installations as the BRAC deadline approaches. In an effort to keep the Aberdeen Proving Ground projects on target, relocation from various buildings within the new construction area had to be negotiated. For example, the Tactical Support Equipment Department’s (TSED’s) power generation equipment repair training used to be conducted in Buildings 5220, 5221, and 5222. However, these buildings were slated for demolition during phase 2 of Aberdeen Proving Ground’s construction. TSED’s tactical pause (to accommodate its move to Fort Lee) was not scheduled to start until after construction at Aberdeen was to begin, so an alternate site had to be found to house the power generation equipment repair training. As a solution, tents and trailers for the training were constructed at an alternate location.

Marine Corps personnel working at Aberdeen Proving Ground had similar issues. Their building, Building 5223, was located in the same phase 2 construction area. The garrison found an alternate location for the Marine supply function. After some minor modifications and improvements, Building 4021 became the Marine’s temporary office location until they eventually move into Building 5043 after TSED’s departure. In each case, the overall benefit to the Army was considered before any action was taken and the solution focused on avoiding interruptions in the training mission.

This juggling of buildings will continue as the Advanced Automotive and Recovery Department prepares to vacate additional buildings in the 5200 block. This will increase the working area turned over to the contractor for new construction and provide a larger safety zone for troop movement in and around the training facilities.

All construction will be complete at both Fort Lee and Aberdeen by the BRAC deadline of September 2011. By then, the Ordnance Munitions and Electronics Maintenance School will relocate from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, to form a consolidated Ordnance School campus at Fort Lee.

John Antal is a base closure and realignment (BRAC) analyst at the Ordnance Mechanical Maintenance School’s BRAC Office. He has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Youngstown State University and is enrolled in an education certification program at Cecil College.

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