Col. Glenn R. Huber, Jr. called it a “momentous day” as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Fort Benning held a ceremony dedicating its new campus Wednesday.
Huber, in his final week as the school’s commandant, took part in the ribbon cutting on a cool, windy morning.
The new campus consists of eight buildings built in the 1920s to house Fort Benning’s First Hospital.
Bradley Hall, the main building, served as the home of the National Infantry Museum from 1977-2008.
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The renovation is an approximately $40 million project.
Work on six of the buildings has been completed with the last two scheduled for completion in early 2015.
Students have already begun working in the finished buildings.
The campus is the third location for WHINSEC at Fort Benning since it began operation in January 2001.
Huber told those gathered for the ceremony that WHINSEC provides professional leadership development.
Now in its 14th year of service, more than 18,000 students from 36 nations have received have received education and training. Officials said that in the last fiscal year, there were 1,556 residents and 1,807 received training.
Students include members of the military and law enforcement.
Examples of courses offered this year include international operational law, intelligence analysis of transnational operations, medical assistance, and counterdrug operations
Every student in every course receives training in the definition, concepts and historical development of human rights and humanitarian law precepts.
Brig. Gen. Christopher P. Hughes, the Deputy Commanding General of the U.S Army Combined Arms Center For Leader Development and Education headquartered at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas which oversees WHINSEC, told those gathered that Huber was the “driving force” behind the completion of the campus. He said Huber and his predecessors as commandant had made the institution a “gem”
Hughes, who was once stationed at Fort Benning, said he never thought he would see Bradley Hall the way it looks today.
He called it important for this country to invest in this hemisphere.
Fort Benning’s Director of Public Works Craig Taylor said the project is an example of a “common vision and plan coming together.”
Former Columbus Mayor Bob Poydasheff is a retired Army colonel. He teaches ethics at WHINSEC and was impressed with what he saw.
He said students at the school are taught to “understand what democracy truly means.”
Poydasheff said the campus is a recognition by the American people that a strong relationship between this country and others in the Western Hemisphere is important.