DUCK, N.C. – The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new annex building at its Field Research Facility in Duck, North Carolina, April 6, 2021.
The research facility was awarded an Unspecified Minor Military Construction Authority contract for the construction of the 4,008-square-foot building.
The $4.3-million annex will consist of laboratory and research administrative spaces to support the organization’s expanded military research mission. In collaboration with the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence, the Field Research Facility develops methods to protect forces, conduct forcible and early entry and transition rapidly to offensive operations.
“The annex will support our expanded military engineering research program here at the Field Research Facility,” said Dr. Jeff Waters, chief of the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory’s Coastal Observation and Analysis Branch.
Founded in 1977, the research facility has maintained a comprehensive, long-term monitoring program of the coastal ocean — including waves, tides, currents, local meteorology and the associated beach response. Now part of the ERDC’s Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory, the facility is an internationally recognized observatory and premier location for conducting complex and comprehensive nearshore research and engineering studies.
“We’re actually a living lab here,” said Waters. “We are able to test out new methodologies and assess numerical models here, and we have others come and use our facility in order to evaluate their own equipment. It’s a very unique location with numerous capabilities.”
The compound comprises 176 acres with a 1,840-foot steel and concrete pier and a 140-foot observation tower, as well as specialized vehicles such as the Coastal Research Amphibious Buggy and the Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo vehicle. These capabilities have led to many multi-agency, multi-investor collaborations resulting in Duck Beach becoming the best-studied beach in the world.
“The Field Research Facility is truly a unique facility,” said Dr. Ty Wamsley, director of the Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory. “Anyone who is part of the coastal engineering community — no matter where they work in the entire world — knows about the research facility, and many of them have used our data sets in their research.”
“Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do,” said Wamsley. “We make our data sets available to researchers across the U.S. and across the globe to advance coastal science and engineering for the good of all. The U.S. Army, the Amy Corps of Engineers, the state of North Carolina and the outer banks communities really have a lot to be proud of in the Field Research Facility.”
“I’m excited to be here to celebrate not only this groundbreaking ceremony, but also the extraordinary research that everybody has been conducting here at the Field Research Facility,” said Dr. David Pittman, director of the ERDC. “It’s been providing the Army and the scientific community unparalleled insights into a very dynamic environment.”
“The Field Research Facility’s value to the Army cannot be overstated,” Pittman continued. “These researchers are currently conducting work funded by the Army, and by commercial companies as well, while collaborating with the other ERDC laboratories to come up with solutions to some of the world’s toughest engineering challenges.”
“It is my belief that this new annex and the talented personnel who work here will ensure that cutting edge science, engineering and technology advancements and partnerships continue to flourish for years to come,” he said.