The groundbreaking for the new Army Central Command, ARCENT, headquarters at Shaw Air Force Base took place in Sumter Monday. Third Army Major Amanda Azubuike says both Fort McPherson and Fort Gillam of Georgia will move to Shaw Air Force Base.
“Third Army is really excited about this opportunity to join the outstanding working partnership between Shaw Air Force Base and the city and county of Sumter, South Carolina. Everyone here on the transition team has had such a positive experience, we really couldn’t ask for a better working relationship. So, 3rd Army looks forward to a productive future, and we’re really looking forward to the months ahead,” says Azubuike.
The 2003 Realignment and Closure Commission required the Army to have the new headquarters in operation by 2011. Shaw Air Force Base says soldiers will arrive with their families to Shaw next summer, bringing in an additional estimated 3,400 people. Shaw is already the headquarters for the Air Force. Chief Robert Sexton with the United States Air Force says the move is a beneficial one for both the Army and the Air Force because the two already work together in the Middle East.
“What this means for the Air Force, it’s going to increase the population of the base by about one-third, and is going to contribute to Sumter County and South Carolina,” says Sexton.
Sexton says one economical benefit with the move is job creation.
“It means probably roughly 1,500 jobs being brought to the state, not new jobs being created on site, but the Army bringing those jobs in here. The Army estimates payroll alone will top $150 million,” says Sexton.
The main ARCENT headquarters will be distributed through three separate facilities: command control facility; Headquarters Company facility; and the tactical equipment maintenance facility. Azubuike says the other two forts in Georgia will be no more.
“As of September, 2011 Fort McPherson and Fort Gillam will close. There is a small enclave that will remain open at Fort Gillam; however, 3rd Army will be completely moved by September 2011,” says Azubuike.
The estimated cost of the new facility is $92 million.