CHARLESTON, S.C., Oct. 26.--Another milestone in the 154-year history of The Citadel will be observed at 1 p.m. today (Saturday) when the first of four replacement barracks is formally dedicated to Immediate Past President Lt. Gen. Claudius E. "Bud" Watts III, USAF, Ret.
In addition to Watts, in attendance at the ceremony will be government officials, military leaders, and former Citadel presidents, as well as members of several governing boards at the military college.
Construction of Watts Barracks began in January 1995 and was completed in time for the beginning of this Fall Semester. The building used almost 10,000 cubic yards of concrete to house 466 of the 1,900-member South Carolina Corps of Cadets.
The new barracks will improve the living conditions of the Corps while maintaining the same appearance as the existing barracks. The four-story buildings are topped with turrets and the rooms overlook the red and white checkerboard quadrangles that have become synonymous with the military college.
Each room is equipped with metal furniture designed to meet the military and academic needs of the cadet occupants. They provide improved study space as well as provision for personal computers connected to the college's central computer system. Rooms have individual heating and air-conditioning controls and windows are of insulated glass set in aluminum casement.
A revolutionary construction technique adapted to the Watts Barracks project used room-size tunnel forms specially designed and made in France and shipped to Charleston. An average of six rooms a day were poured and the concrete was cured overnight by heaters. The next day the forms were removed and the process was repeated.
Watts Barracks is the first of four to be constructed but the second step in a systematic project that began several years ago. The first was the demolition of the old dining hall in 1992 to make way for Watts Barracks. The third step was taken last week when a wrecking ball began tearing down Murray Barracks which will be replaced by a new building on the site using the "recycled" tunnel forms.
The Board of Visitors at the military college decided in 1992 to replace, rather than renovate, the existing four barracks that were built 50 to 70 years ago when the college moved from Marion Square. A seven-month study by an independent contractor had concluded that it would cost almost 25 percent more to modernize and upgrade the aging buildings.
A career officer, Watts attained the rank of lieutenant general in the United States Air Force and was serving as Comptroller of the Air Force when he accepted the presidency of The Citadel in June 1989. A 1958 graduate, he held numerous academic and civic posts while serving as the military college's 17th president. He retired in August 1996.