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NEWS | Jan. 26, 2010

NCO Academy gets $6M upgrade

By Mike Joseph 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

The Robert D. Gaylor NCO Academy officially reopened Jan. 15 after completing a multi-million dollar renovation.

A $6 million makeover to the 29,000 square foot building, begun in November 2008, included relocating classrooms and the student learning resource center.

"They gutted the entire facility," said Senior Master Sgt. Clarence Brown, director of resources and Gaylor Academy first sergeant. "It was rebuilt from the studs up."

The renovation standardized the entire building, according to Sergeant Brown. It now groups the 16 flight rooms and administrative offices on the first floor. The second floor consists of the learning resource center, where the students will have access to 30 systems and network printing capabilities. They will also be able to do research, homework assignments and check e-mail.

Before the project, classrooms of different configurations were split on both floors.

The main learning center was on the first floor with several mini-LRCs on the second floor.

"In the new configuration, the instructor offices are co-located with the flight rooms," said Sergeant Brown. "The whole facility is outfitted with new furniture and everything is standardized throughout. It will provide a uniformed educational environment for the students.

"If students walk into another flight room, nothing would change," he added. "There is nothing to disrupt the ability of those students to learn."

The academy provides leadership courses to NCOs from various bases. Approximately 224 students attend classes every seven weeks with 14 students per flight room. In addition to the students, the academy houses 18 instructors, four superintendents and support staff.

Courses include profession of arms, unit management and leadership, and communications.

The academy is named in honor of retired Chief Master Sgt. Robert D. Gaylor, the former Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.

Since the academy opened its doors in 1973, thousands of NCOs have received training there for positions of increased responsibility. Every year, more than 1,600 students attend the academy, which is part of the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.