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Construction picks up for new Airman Training Complex at JBSA-Lackland

By Mila Cisneros | Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs | Nov. 16, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas —

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center, or AFCEC, is leading a massive $700 million, multi-year construction project to modernize the Gateway to the Air Force for new Basic Military Training recruits at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. 

Construction of the Basic Military Training West Campus is a multifaceted effort designed to replace decentralized and aged housing and training infrastructure with modern living and educational facilities. The project will improve the Air Force’s necessary capacity to conduct training missions more efficiently at JBSA-Lackland, the basic training location for enlisted recruits.

“The build of the campus is essential to advance the Air Force’s training capabilities,” said Col. Dave Norton, director of AFCEC’s Facility Engineering Directorate. “The new infrastructure is designed to allow the Air Force to successfully train future enlisted personnel in a more functional, modern campus environment.”

The undertaking is a partnership between AFCEC, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the 802nd Civil Engineer Squadron, Merrick & Company, and the 37th Training Wing, the largest training wing in the Air Force.

“AFCEC works with installations Air Force-wide to construct timely and resilient facilities that balance maximum durability and functionality while offering reduced maintenance and operational costs,” Norton said.

The Airman Training Complex is one of the largest construction efforts at JBSA-Lackland, consisting of East and West Campuses to house BMT squadrons. The build of the East Campus started in 2009 and was completed in 2016. 

The ongoing construction of the West Campus will add four recruit dormitories, two classroom and dining facilities, and an Airmen’s Chapel. The planned design will mirror the East Campus.

The build of the West Campus began in 2019 when AFCEC awarded three projects for construction. They include a classroom and dining facility, as well as two recruit dormitories. 

“Modernization of the training facilities at JBSA-Lackland is a necessity to replace the base’s existing outdated buildings constructed in the 1960s and early 1970s,” said Shannon Best, AFCEC’s design and construction manager. 

As the number of trainees at the base increased, these facilities were no longer able to support current and planned accessions of Air Force active-duty, Reserve and Air National Guard recruits.

“The new complex is designed to accommodate large training groups – in both interior and exterior spaces. A unique feature of the first floor is that a portion of it is raised allowing recruits to train in incremental weather,” Best said. The project recently celebrated an important milestone when the steel frame of the dining and classroom facility went up.

“It is designed to feature a full-service commercial kitchen, dining area and support spaces on the ground floor,” Best said. “The second and third floors will accommodate eight 120-person classrooms with stadium seating.” 

This program replaces dining hall and classroom facilities that are currently located in various Basic Military Training squadron dormitory buildings. 

Up to 1,248 trainees will be assigned to each of the two 280,550 square foot dormitories once complete. The $226 million investment will provide sleeping quarters, showers and restrooms along with instructional dayroom and instructor offices.

The three projects in progress are scheduled for completion by late 2022. Each dorm will also receive a drill pad, running track, exercise pads, war skills training areas and a weapons cleaning pavilion. 

“These large, unified spaces will offer flexibility and permit adjustments as the mission changes,” Best said. 

The Air Force plans to add two new dormitories, an additional classroom and dining facility and the chapel in the coming years. 

“These projects are in the design phase and AFCEC’s plan is to award some of them for execution in 2021,” said Best.

Once complete, the 1.33 million square foot West Campus can simultaneously train almost 5,000 recruits.