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February 22, 2013

News

NCO Academy opens new classroom facility

Story & photos by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

Battlestaff Noncommissioned Officer Course (BSNCOC) students at Fort McCoy helped christen in a new training era at the Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Academy.

The Feb. 1-22 training was the first course held for students in the academy’s new 38,000-square-foot, two-story, $7.8 million classroom facility.
PHOTO: A Battlestaff Noncommissioned Officer Course instructor answers students’ questions. Photo by Rob Schuette
Master Sgt. Jeff Agan, a Battlestaff Noncommissioned Officer Course instructor, answers students’ questions during a training session.

Master Sgt. Johnny Cobb, BSNCOC course manager, said the new facility is much better than the academy’s former setup.
“All of our instructors have their offices in one building,” Cobb said. “It’s a better atmosphere for our day-to-day activities. Everything is much more modern.”

Eventually, everything needed to provide NCO Academy training will be in one area, Cobb said. Construction has begun on a barracks facility adjacent to the classroom facility. A dining facility also is planned.

Sgt. 1st Class Louis Robertson, a BSNCOC instructor, said the new classroom facility is more spacious, cleaner and more up-to-date, as well as has better, adjustable lighting compared to the World War II-era wood facilities it replaces.

“The appearance projects a professional atmosphere,” Robertson said. “It’s clean, crisp and modern and encourages the personnel attending classes here to take another step up, too, in their military careers.”

Sgt. 1st Class Lance Wilson, a BSNCOC instructor, said plenty of room exists to handle multiple courses in the facility at the same time.

PHOTO: Students in the Battlestaff Noncommissioned Officer Course use the new classroom facility. Photo by Rob Schuette
Students in the Battlestaff Noncommissioned Officer Course use the new classroom facility to train on a scenario during the first course taught in the new building.

The classroom facility has an auditorium, which also can be used for graduation.

“We also have computer labs here, including a Command Post of the Future (CPOF) lab upstairs,” Wilson said. “Before, the best we could do was give them a virtual tour. Now they actually can see it and use it.”

The CPOF is used both in theater and at unit home stations, so familiarization with the system is important, Wilson said.

Master Sgt. Jeff Agan, a BSNCOC instructor, said having all the classrooms, labs, instructor offices, etc., in the same building saves the students time they would spend moving between the buildings.

“It’s also less confusing to the students to have everything in the same facility,” Agan said. “With the weather being unpredictable at this time of the year, it’s also safer for the students and staff” not to have to leave the building to walk to an instructor’s office, a lab or another classroom.

Staff Sgt. Catherine Vieman of the 75th Training Division of Fort Snelling, Minn., said she had watched the building being constructed during the times she conducted training at the installation.

Vieman attended the BSNCOC because her unit requires it for personnel to serve in her position.

“The new facility offers a big boost in our morale,” Vieman said. “It’s well lit and shows they care about us as Soldiers.”

Sgt. 1st Class David Ellis of the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion of Green Bay, Wis., said he had attended the Warrior Leader Course at the academy when it was in the old setup.

“Those buildings don’t compare to the new facility,” Ellis said. “It’s great having everything co-located instead of in different buildings.”

When people enter the new facility, it creates a positive attitude.

Ellis said the new facility was designed to handle modern electronics, such as laptop computers, with conveniently located power sources, rather than having to use extension cords to connect them to a remote power source.

Cobb said having everything in the same facility makes it easier for the instructors to coordinate training or to work out any issues.

For more information about NCO Academy Courses, call 608-388-2046/3744 or visit the Army Training Requirements and Resources System website.

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