New Accommodation Facilities for Soldiers

By Cpl Patrick Robinson,
1 Engineer Regiment (JDF)

The construction of new barrack rooms in Lathbury Barracks [Up Park Camp] for members of the Infantry is quite the talk of the day. The talks are fuelled by the fact that demolition of the existing barrack rooms has begun. One of the common questions aired has been, “What will be the involvement of 1 Engineer Regiment (JDF) in the construction at Lathbury Barracks?” 1 Engineer Regiment (JDF) is very involved in this construction project and has the project management as its primary role.

The building is stripped of roofing and wiring in
preparation for demolition.

Two hundred and sixteen three-bedroom units are to be constructed, at an approximate cost of $500 million, over a two-year period, to accommodate some 1300 soldiers. A construction of this sort could not have come at a better time. The need for better accommodation has been the cry in the Jamaica Defence Force for many years. The soldiers will be able to feel more comfortable away from their homes as the new structures are expected to be a more home-like in the designs. The areas earmarked for new barracks are Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and the Headquarter Companies in Lathbury Barracks, and the play ground west of 1 Engineer Regiment (JDF) Headquarters.

Rubble of what use to be the barrack
rooms of Charlie Company in Lathbury Barracks.

1 Engineer Regiment (JDF) will be working closely with the contractor, Ashtrom Building System Ltd. The Unit will be responsible for the preliminary work leading up to the start of the construction - demolition of buildings, rerouting of electrical wirings, drains, and the day to day supervision of the site.

During the construction stages, life is not expected to be the norm, especially for the persons in Lathbury Barracks. The construction will necessitate the relocation of quite a number of soldiers. There will be disruptions to the water supply and electricity. The free movement of personnel will also be inhibited by the heavy trafficking of equipment and construction materials.

This tractor from the 1 Engineering Regiment (JDF)
being used to demolish the buildings at Charlie Company.

However, the project is expected to progress smoothly and at the end provide new and improved living accommodation for the soldiers. The engineers too will have even more to be proud of - a sense of accomplishment from their input, and increase knowledge and exposure gained from their collaboration with Ashtrom in this conventional form of construction.