Sailors coming out of basic training and attending the Naval Technical Training Center (NTTC) on board Naval Air Station Meridian will be pleasantly surprised to find their new quarters are brand new.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Tuesday to mark the conclusion of a $19.8 million project to renovate seven barracks and the Administration Building at Naval Technical Training Center on board NAS Meridian.

The seventh and final barracks will begin taking on Naval personnel in the next few days. The barracks will be able to handle approximately 1,000 sailors and according to Comm. Rusty Bownds who oversees the NTTC, the quality of life for the seamen just got much better.

"This will be the first home for most of these sailors right out of basic training so it will be much different than what they've seen," said Bownds. "These barracks will provide an increased level of comforts and amenities as they learn their trade here and ship out for other duties."

The project was awarded Sept. 27, 2006, to TJC Engineering of Louisville, Ky. Following completion of the design, work began on the first two buildings in January 2007. The first of the barracks was accepted Jan. 8, 2008, and students began moving in immediately.

Work included removal of all interior finishes (walls, ceilings, flooring, lighting and bathroom fixtures) and replacement with more durable and up-to-date materials including porcelain and ceramic tile flooring, impact and mold resistant gypsum board, energy efficient/adjustable direct and indirect lighting, new insulating windows and key card locking systems. A new outside air system was designed and installed to ensure the rooms are provided with conditioned outside air to meet new standards for indoor air quality. Barracks exterior "freshening" of the bulldogging included new handrails on the second and third floor walk ways, new exterior lighting and repair and painting of the exterior stucco finish.

"The older barracks were getting grungy and dated," said Bownds. "Now we are prepared to accommodate sailors as they are needed by the Navy and house them comfortably."

Each of the barracks includes 60 sleeping rooms in suites of four rooms with a common lounge. Typically each bedroom houses two "A" school students, though some are furnished with three beds, lockers, and desks to support increased student loading.

The Administration Building now houses NTTC Administration offices on the ground floor as well as the Personnel Customer Support Detachment and ID Card Center. The Liberty Center is located on the second floor. It has a large media room, Guitar Hero "rock out" room, and a sports game room. Computer and wireless access will be added soon.

The project was completed within budget and six months early.

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