Originally created 12/09/06

Facility for NSA to go up on post



Correction, December, 14 2006: In Saturday's editions of The Augusta Chronicle, an article about the new facilities for the National Security Agency at Fort Gordon incorrectly reported the size of the new building. Officials said it will be 500,000 square feet. The Chronicle regrets the error.

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The National Security Agency said Friday that a $286 million contract has been awarded to build its new facilities at Fort Gordon.

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service Georgia - formerly known as the Gordon Regional Security Operations Center - houses civilian and military workers and is one of the largest expanding components at the Army post.

The contract was awarded Thursday by the Savannah District of the Army Corps of Engineers, the NSA said. The Augusta Chronicle has previously reported that it will be built at the current location of the Battle Command Battle Lab, at 16th Street and Lane Avenue.

"This new facility will enable us to strengthen our intelligence support to our nation's policymakers and military leaders and members as they perform their mission," Col. Stephen G. Fogarty, the commander of NSA/CSS Georgia, said in a statement.

Officials say a spring groundbreaking is expected.

Though its exact mission is secret, the NSA's operations at Fort Gordon intercept terrorist chatter, provide information to commanders on the battlefield and provide operational, technical and foreign language training. All four military service branches are represented.

The contract was awarded to Phelps/Keweit Joint Venture of Chantilly, Va., according to the office of U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga. It is to be completed by 2010.

The 500,000-square-foot NSA/CSS Georgia building is the largest construction project under way at the post.

The new $5.7 million headquarters for the Battle Command Battle Lab at Gate 2 must be finished within 270 days of its October groundbreaking so the facility can be built.

Another major project, a $4.5 million law enforcement center, will replace military police offices and holding cells in an old dining hall. It will be on Rice Road, next to Fire Station No. 1.

Augusta's civic leaders highlighted the NSA's presence at Fort Gordon during the effort to keep the post open through the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round, showing the importance of the post to national security.

The new facility is expected to bring 100 to 125 people a year to the area for five years, civic leaders have said.

According to military construction budget documents that justify the need for the new facility, the NSA activity is currently spread out over five buildings.

The main operations are currently conducted at Back Hall, originally a classroom building. It is 50 feet from Chamberlain Avenue - a major thoroughfare that personnel cross to access a parking lot.

Power requirements exceed supply, and there is not enough room inside the 90,920-square-foot building for all operations.

Reach Jeremy Craig at (706) 823-3409 or jeremy.craig@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S NEXT:

Officials anticipate the groundbreaking for new facilities for NSA/CSS Georgia at Fort Gordon in the spring. The facility should be completed by 2010.