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The rooms at the new 7th U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy house three soldiers and offer each a bed, desk and wall locker.

The rooms at the new 7th U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy house three soldiers and offer each a bed, desk and wall locker. (Rick Emert / S&S)

The rooms at the new 7th U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy house three soldiers and offer each a bed, desk and wall locker.

The rooms at the new 7th U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy house three soldiers and offer each a bed, desk and wall locker. (Rick Emert / S&S)

A classroom at the new 7th U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

A classroom at the new 7th U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy. (Rick Emert / S&S)

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The 7th U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy officially opened Wednesday in its new location at Grafenwöhr.

The academy, formerly on the main post, is now housed at one of the camps in the training area. The total cost of renovations and building a new dining facility was $18.3 million.

The new location gives the academy better facilities and less distraction in training soldiers to become noncommissioned officers, said Command Sgt. Maj. James Campbell, the academy commandant.

“The classrooms are a lot bigger than the old place,” Campbell said. “The soldiers can really stretch out and do training, and the field is right there. They can walk to it and don’t need to be bused out for the practical application.”

However, there are some disadvantages. The new academy can’t handle as many students because the living areas offer more individual space to students, Campbell said.

Each room at the new academy houses three soldiers. At the previous location, up to eight soldiers stayed in one room. At the location on main post, the ratio of students to instructors was 10-to-1. At the new location, it drops to 9-to-1, Campbell said.

“Because they have more space and better living conditions, we can’t fit as many students [in the course],” he said. “It’s not a requirement for them to have this much space in a training environment, but it is important that they get the same dignity and respect they get at their units.”

A disadvantage to the students in the new facility is that they won’t have access to the food court and post exchange that were near the old location, but a shoppette and pizza place are expected to open by next week, when the next group of students arrives, Campbell said.

Staff Sgt. Broderick Allen, an instructor, said the food court and PX distracted the students from their training and the work they had to complete outside of the classroom.

“It was hard to keep the soldiers focused on training when the academy was on main post,” Allen said.

“This will be a whole lot better for the instructors to eliminate distractions and keep the focus on training.

“Everything we need is right here. We used to have to bus them out to the training area to do any kind of field training. Now we can walk to the woods right beside the classrooms.”


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