Batson-Cook Company recently completed the $91 million National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia. Working with the owner, the National Infantry Foundation, the general contractor has used this new structure to illuminate the honor, dedication and history of this unique fighting division of the United States Army.
This new museum depicts the story of the infantryman from the Revolutionary War to the present. It also includes a myriad of logistics, hardware and safety management procedures which were implemented during construction. To make this structure a true testament to the Infantry soldier, the Batson-Cook team created a mission statement for the project, dedicating their efforts to constructing this living monument for past, present and future Infantry Warriors. Each of the 500-plus individuals employed on-site were asked to sign this statement.
“The mission statement helped to focus everyone on the “why” – why they were there,” said Superintendent Chuck Williams. “It reminded them that while our participation in the museum is a small part, its significance to the soldiers who served, their families and the country will last for centuries to come.”
“Chuck Williams and his leadership team have demanded nothing but the best from the people who work for them,” says Major General Jerry White, U.S. Army Retired and President of the National Infantry Foundation. “The quality of work, the level of professionalism and perhaps most importantly the passion and dedication exhibited by this team is unmatched.”
Building the 170,000-square-foot museum required dedication as well as materials. The 500 employees poured 9,500 cubic yards of concrete, installed 400 tons of rebar and laid 1,500,000 feet of wire and cable. To translate these numbers, 1,056 concrete trucks delivered the concrete and, if used in succession, these trucks would extend approximately five miles in traffic. The amount of rebar used was equivalent to the weight of approximately 10 Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The wire and cables, placed end to end in a straight line, would extend from the National Infantry Museum to Savannah – 284 miles.
The logistics “could have been a true challenge,” said Williams. “But we were diligent in our planning from the executive level to the administrative assistants.”
As a result, the Batson-Cook team was able to coordinate the logistics necessary to install 5,000 light fixtures and 100,000 CMU (Concrete Masonry Units). To stack the latter would stretch 25.25 miles, reaching the Earth’s stratosphere. In addition, the team laid 400,000 bricks. These, laid end to end, would equal 254,166 feet or the length of 1,550 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
In order to ensure the safety of the 500 employees as well as the integrity of the National Infantry Museum, Batson-Cook implemented “Get in S.T.E.P. (Safety Takes Every Person).” This program rewarded workers whose actions showed safety as a top priority. Williams commented “This small rewards program provided a catalyst for personal responsibility and community responsibility – ensuring the well-being of your brothers building the museum. Even the smallest measure counted.”
This innovative program complemented the weekly safety meetings and the step-by-step job hazard analysis performed by the general contractor, the architect and subcontractors. To date, the increased safety monitoring produced 59,622.75 man-hours without a lost-time accident.
Batson-Cook, founded in 1915, specializes in providing commercial general contracting, preconstruction, construction management, and design-build services to a wide range of clients. The firm has offices in Atlanta and West Point, Georgia, Tampa and Jacksonville, Florida. Batson-Cook has brought its dedication to quality construction to nearly every major category of building, including office, industrial, retail, institutional, health care, hospitality, education, and resort facilities.