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Ground broken for new classroom building on Fort Campbell post

Before plans were made to build a new Austin Peay Center @ Fort Campbell facility, then Executive Director Gerald Beavers and others investigated a couple of options.

We drove up and down U.S. 41-A, looking for empty facilities. We couldnt find any, so we started looking for ground, he said.
Before plans were made to build a new Austin Peay Center @ Fort Campbell facility, then Executive Director Gerald Beavers and others investigated a couple of options.

“We drove up and down U.S. 41-A, looking for empty facilities. We couldn't find any, so we started looking for ground,” he said.

Then the opportunity surfaced to construct a new classroom and office building at Fort Campbell, Ky. On Dec. 12, in an historical first, Austin Peay State University broke ground for its own facility across the street from the SSG Glenn H. English Jr. Army Education Center on Bastogne Avenue, Fort Campbell.

“Whew! I thought this day would never get here,” Beavers told the crowd of dignitaries, members of the Fort Campbell command group and APSU officials present for the groundbreaking.

In addition to Beavers, others giving remarks were APSU President Tim Hall, Bob Adams, vice chancellor of business and finance for the Tennessee Board of Regents, and Col. Frederick Swope, commander of the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Campbell.

Hall said Austin Peay was a “mere teenager” in 1942 when Fort Campbell was under construction. That same year, Austin Peay awarded its first degree, and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) was activated.

“We have a great academic institution and military installation that grew up side by side,” Hall said. “This new center will be a continuation of a long and fruitful partnership.”

The project, approved by the State Building Commission in 2007, is unique in that, as far as can be determined, it marks the only time in history a state university has been granted permission to build an educational facility on federal property through a 25-year, long-term land lease with the U.S. Army, with an option to renew for an additional 25 years. -- Melony A. Jones