FORT IRWIN, California – Representatives with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District joined Fort Irwin leaders March 9 to cut the ribbon on a new library – signifying the facility’s grand opening – at Fort Irwin.
The Corps’ LA District managed the construction of the $6-million facility, which replaces a more than 25-year-old temporary library structure on the installation.
Brig. Gen. Curt Taylor, commanding general of the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, and Col. Jason Clarke, Fort Irwin garrison commander, kicked off the event with a Facebook Live ribbon-cutting ceremony on the corner in front of the library.
“This is a world-class opportunity for the quality of life for our families, our Soldiers and our young children in this community,” Taylor said, before cutting the ribbon.
The opening of the library is exciting, he said, as he reminisced as a teenager growing up on the installation and remembering the former wooden building where the library was housed.
The library is just the start, Taylor said, as he looks forward to the installation’s plans to also build a community activity center, teen center and outdoor recreation facility in the future for the community.
“We will continue to invest in this community to make this a great place for Soldiers and families,” he said, “so if one of you comes back in 30 years, it will be a great place for you and your family.”
He acknowledged the hard work it takes to build a facility in the desert during a pandemic.
“I want to thank all of those who worked so hard to make this investment possible,” Taylor said. “This takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to build out here in the desert. You can ask the Corps of Engineers. It is hard to construct in the middle of a pandemic and to continue to build quality facilities for our Soldiers and families.”
The new 8,000-square-foot library is energy-efficient and LEED-Silver certified. It includes a reception center/customer service desk, reading and stack areas, a multi-purpose room, computer stations, a children's area, office space for staff members and a shaded courtyard, among others. It also features electronic library shelves that move back and forth by using keypads located at the end of each shelving unit. Like many of the other facilities the Corps has built at Fort Irwin, the landscape around the library incorporates low-volume irrigation methods and xeriscaping techniques.
It also is one of three locations on the installation that has public Internet access.
Maj. Kevin Stucker, deputy commander for the Corps’ LA District, was present for the ceremony on behalf of Col. Julie Balten, the Corps’ LA District commander.
“It was an honor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to be a part of another great project at Fort Irwin,” Stucker said. “The new Fort Irwin Library is a massive upgrade – it is 25-percent larger and LEED-Silver certified, with a host of modern technical improvements. The library will have a positive impact that will be enjoyed by the Fort Irwin community for generations to come.”