Fort Meade prepares for 5,000 new employees

More than 5,000 federal employees are expected to begin moving to Maryland's Fort George G. Meade military base starting in January and are to complete the move by June 2011, officials said.

The moves are part of the federal government's Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program and will bring to about 48,000 the number of people working at Fort Meade by Sept. 30, 2011.

Representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense gave media representatives a tour Tuesday of the facilities being constructed for the new employees, many of whom now work in Northern Virginia. The tour included sites that will be developed in 2011 and beyond, including housing and a BGE substation, a 36-hole golf course and a center for the U.S. Cyber Command.

"BRAC is here," said Chad Jones, public affairs director for Fort Meade. "It's not just something you're hearing about. It's here."

Of three facilities expected to open during the first half of 2011, the largest is the new home of the Defense Information Systems Agency, or DISA. The $398 million complex will contain more than one million square feet of space and will house a work force of 4,272 people.

Hensel Phelps Construction is building the DISA headquarters to consolidate employees from three locations in Northern Virginia. The employees are to begin moving into the new building during the second week of January and will continue arriving at a rate of 150 to 200 employees a week until the relocation is complete.

The other two facilities — Defense Media Activity and Adjudication Activities Co-Location — are a $59 million, 178,086-square-foot building that will open in May and house 652 employees, and a $32 million, 151,590-square-foot structure that will open in April and house 760 workers.

Col. Daniel L. Thomas, Fort Meade's installation commander, said the Department of Defense was taking a variety of steps to prepare Fort Meade to accommodate the additional employees and their vehicles, such as widening roads, improving intersections and upgrading security gates.

Earlier this month, state and local officials announced that the state would spend nearly $4 million for transportation-related improvements and utility work just outside Fort Meade to help prepare the area for the influx of new employees.

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