USAMRAA Staff Moves to New Home
After years in temporary facilities, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command's U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity personnel have completed two phases of a three-phase relocation plan to move USAMRAA staff into a new, permanent home on post in the most unlikely of places, the old Fort Detrick Fire Station and former Provost Marshal Office.
In light of multiple issues with the temporary facilities, it became very clear that relocation for the USAMRAA team was critical to mission success, spurring forth efforts to find a more suitable and safe new home.
"Safety of the staff is the primary driver and the mandate to get rid of the temporary facilities," reiterated Michael Blount, chief of the USAMRAA Business Oversight Branch. "There's an Army mandate to get out of temporary facilities as they are not meant to be long-term solutions. The Fort Detrick U.S. Army Garrison and the USAMRMC offered to us the old Fire Station and PMO building, so we worked with them to get the funding to completely renovate those facilities."
Thanks to the teamwork and collaboration of the USAMRAA, the USAMRMC and Fort Detrick USAG, plans were set in motion in September 2014 to completely renovate the former Fort Detrick Fire Station, Building 1504, and the adjoining PMO building to accommodate approximately 140 of the approximately 220 USAMRAA staff; a "monstrous project" according to Blount, as top to bottom renovations had to be made.
"USAMRAA's Chief of Staff Christopher Sherman led the planning efforts and coordination along with our local bargaining unit for the renovation and execution of the relocation of staff," said Blount.
Once renovation was complete, the plan was to move USAMRAA staff in three separate phases.
Phase one began on Feb. 4, moving most of the contracting personnel, about 90 employees total, out of the 'stick' buildings, a commonly used term for World War II buildings.
Phase two began exactly one week later on Feb. 11, moving approximately 60 more USAMRAA employees out of the temporary trailer, Building 843, to backfill the people in the World War II barracks, which, according to Blount, is a "huge upgrade." Even though these 'stick' facilities are still only temporary buildings, they are structurally a higher degree.
Phase three is upcoming, which will move the approximately 30 remaining USAMRAA contracting personnel to Building 1504.
Following phase three, all USAMRAA staff from the temporary facilities #'s 843, 820A and 845 will be relocated, leaving the trailers empty and ready to be turned in.
Overall, feedback from the move has been positive, and USAMRAA staff is happy.
"The director has received accolades from the staff on the smoothness of the plan and the teambuilding the move afforded," said Blount.
Unfortunately, despite strides in the right direction, this particular move does not quite cure all ills for the USAMRAA team. Even as the new building is equipped to house close to 140 people when all is said and done, some of the USAMRAA team will still remain separate in their current locations.
"The Fire Station will house almost all of our contracting people," said Blount. "Most of the assistance agreement staff and some support staff will stay behind in the 'stick buildings,' to include top management."
Eventually, the end goal for the USAMRAA would be to construct a single building large enough to house USAMRAA staff in its entirety. For now, progress is progress, and the relocation has been a step in the right direction, providing USAMRAA personnel with a new and safe worksite on post.