As a shared facility between the Arkansas Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves, the new, energy-efficient $22 million, 109,957-square-foot Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC) in Bentonville, Ark., consolidates unit operations at four armories closed due to the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005. The Arkansas Army National Guard shares the readiness center assembly hall, classrooms, physical training and auditorium with the U.S. Army Reserves, while other areas of the facility are unique to their respective missions. Also on site is a separate unit storage building, a vehicle maintenance training building and a 20,500-square-yard, secured motor pool for vehicles including the multiple rocket launch system used by the 1st Battalion of the 142nd Field Artillery Regiment.
As the prime architectural and engineering design firm for the AFRC, Burns & McDonnell worked with the soldiers to design a facility that helped them fulfill their mission, respect the environment and honor their service.
Occupied by approximately 30 people during the week, the AFRC accommodates up to 500 on drill weekends. To maintain energy efficiency at both occupancy levels, Burns & McDonnell designed the AFRC in zones for full-time and drill-weekend areas, co-locating full-time operations so only certain areas needed air conditioning or heat during periods of lower occupancy. Natural lighting in spaces typically unoccupied during the week, such as the assembly hall and storage areas, allows further energy conservation.
Burns & McDonnell designed the AFRC to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification level. Sustainable features also include efficient insulation; electrical and mechanical systems designed for variable occupancy levels; low-maintenance, high-durability interior finishes; and plumbing that reduces water consumption.
The highly functional layout features convenient access to family support and recruiting and retention offices from the front lobby. To aid in quick mobilization during an emergency, vehicle staging is adjacent to equipment loading.
To honor the unit's military history, Burns & McDonnell incorporated red — the traditional color of the artillery branch — throughout the facility; a large mural sketched by one of the soldiers was placed in the break room; and display cases in the lobby to showcase unit awards, citations and recognitions. A memorial wall near the building features monuments relocated from the four closed armories and a reflection area with benches.
Construction on the AFRC began in October 2009 and concluded in March 2011 with a celebratory ribbon-cutting in November.
For more information, contact Amy Clement, 816-822-3153.