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Bell's Historical Contributions to WWII Effort & Current Day Work at Ft. Campbell

Bell Engineering is a locally owned and operated civil engineering firm founded in Lexington, Kentucky by University of Kentucky graduate Mr. Howard K. Bell in 1914. Originally located on Limestone Street in downtown Lexington, Howard K. Bell Consulting Engineers, Inc. (HKB) provided water, wastewater, and stormwater engineering services to clients and communities throughout Kentucky and West Virginia. With a vision to provide professional engineering services to city, county, state, and federal governments, Mr. Bell quickly earned a reputation as a pioneer in the field of providing solutions-based, original engineering applications. Leading the company that bore his name until his death in 1939, Mr. Bell set the tone for the employee-owned, client-focused environment we still operate today.

During the 1940's, the firm's official operations ceased during World War II while employees were enlisted in the Army. A joint venture between Wilson, Bell, and Watkins operated from 1940-1943, primarily to make the most of opportunities offered by wartime construction. John F. Wilson was an architect and his design of the Monterey Grade School in Owenton; Owen County, Kentucky is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The “Bell” in the new firm’s name came from the Howard K. Bell Company, headed at the time by James Latham and Grant Bell. J. Stephen Watkins was a consulting Engineer who had a distinguished career as an engineer. Bell staff, through the joint venture, were integral in building Camp Campbell, now known as Ft. Campbell, Camp Breckenridge, the Lexington Signal Depot, advanced planning for the Corinth Armored Division, Maxwell Field in Alabama, and a tent camp in Mississippi. In 1945, the Bell office officially reopened following WWII.

More recently, Bell Engineering was the Civil/Site subconsultant to the Contractor/Designer of the 5th SOF Equipment Maintenance and Supply Complex project at Ft. Campbell. The Owner was the U.S. Army with the contract administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project included the demolition and reuse of two different sites. The northernmost site had two TEMF maintenance facilities, supporting warehouses, and hardstand pavement constructed. The southernmost site had a supply warehouse, a TUAV maintenance facility, and associated hardstand pavements. Both sites were constructed to LEED silver requirements. The Civil/Site design included the relocation of stormwater features on the sites. Existing stormwater piping was relocated on both sites and an existing basin was resized and reconfigured on one site. Also, to meet LEED requirements, three rainwater recycling units were designed and installed to furnish non-potable water to the new buildings for use within the lavatories.

Bell Engineering was also a subconsultant for the Design-Build renovations of Building 2601 at Ft. Campbell. The building, constructed in 1970 and known as the Guest House, was a hotel for short-term stays while soldiers were being placed. The building was no longer used as a hotel and was mostly vacant with some office space. The renovations included the removal of several load-bearing walls in order to provide open space for a waiting room and a larger office to serve as the Garrison Commander Headquarters. In order to remove the load-bearing walls, structural analysis was required and new steel frames were designed to carry the loads across the newly open areas. A major parameter of the design was to detail a system that could be installed in the second-floor work area with minimum disturbance to the office workers below on the first floor. During construction, existing reinforced concrete beams in a different area of the building were found to have been damaged previously by coring holes for utility piping. In order to address this found condition, Bell designed a carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) wrap system in order to strengthen the beams in-place.


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