Located adjacent to Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga., the National Infantry Museum is a 100,000-sq-ft national monument constructed to honor the nation’s 234-year old Infantry and “Infantry Warrior.”
Early on, to document the project’s special nature, contractor Batson-Cook Co. developed a project mission statement that read in part: “This is not just another project or building to us. This will be a living monument to past, present and future Infantry Warriors. This monument will honor the commitment and sacrifices made by the Infantrymen and their families to the history of our grateful nation…. I understand that this is sacred ground. Not just another job site or facility but a symbol of honor, valor and sacrifice.”
Every person involved with the project was asked to sign the statement; the last person to sign it was General Colin Powell, who was the keynote speaker at the museum’s ribbon-cutting.
The museum’s numerous exhibits take visitors on a journey through all of the Infantry’s major battles, from the American Revolution through to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A granite-clad entrance hall was designed to also serve as reception space for up to 500 seated guests. Accenting the building’s central gallery is a glass-enclosed Hall of Valor, a specially engineered glass room that allows visitors to read the names each of the 1,500 Infantrymen from the Civil War to the present who earned the Medal of Honor.
Six portals were constructed off the main gallery, each one exhibiting distinct eras: the Revolutionary War; Manifest Destiny and the Civil War; World War I; World War II; the Cold War; and a portal entitled “The Sole Superpower” that addresses present-day battles. These galleries are joined by a portal dedicated to the families of those called to serve.
The museum also features a restaurant, gift shop, function space and an IMAX Theatre. Two hundred acres of green space encircle the museum and include a new five-acre parade field created for Infantry graduation ceremonies.
Because fund-raising for this project continued even after the start of construction, the Batson-Cook team worked with the owner’s representative, Newton Aaron and Associates, and the National Infantry Foundation to release trade packages as funds were available, without having a negative impact on the schedule.
Due to the complexity of steel for this project, the Batson-Cook team used BIM for coordination between the designers, suppliers and constructors.
The National Infantry Museum project experienced zero lost-time accidents, and just two recordable injuries.
Owner: The National Infantry Foundation
Location: Columbus, Ga.
Cost: $91 million
Contractor: Batson-Cook Co.
Design Firm: E. Verner Johnson / Hecht Burdeshaw Architects, Inc.