Italian tech students tour Del Din
May 10, 2013
VICENZA, Italy -- High school students with Converse shoes, skinny jeans and hoodies visited Del Din April 23. Except for their conversations in Italian, they could easily have been mistaken for American youth.
More than 50 final-year students and instructors from Vicenza's Istituto Tecnico per Geometri were hosted April 23 at Caserma Del Din to see firsthand the largest construction program in Vicenza province that has transformed the former Italian air base into a modern military installation.
Transformation Construction Management Office program manager, Susan Wong, a civil engineer, stopped in to welcome the group, encouraging them to consider a future career working in cooperation with the U.S. government.
"Today we want to create a spark, an excitement for what your career and future can be like," Wong said.
The introduction to the $309 million program began with an overview briefing presented by TCMO strategic communicator Anna Ciccotti. Her presentation was in Italian, but the slides she used were in English to reinforce language learning for the students.
Some of the highlights the students learned were that 10 of the original buildings of historical significance were retained; 35 percent of the new base is dedicated to open green space; and 95 percent of construction waste from the site is being reused. These and a number of other measures contribute to an anticipated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, gold rating when the complex is complete.
"This was my first time inside a U.S. base," said Stefano Cauzzo, an Istituto Baronio student. "As for the environmental impact, I did not see any impact at all because the complex is really very nice and it fits beautifully in the surrounding urban tissue of the city of Vicenza."
The group divided into four and went on a one and one half hour tour of the installation that began atop one of the installation's two parking structures. There, TCMO engineers explained the key infrastructure features of the entire construction site. From there, they walked around the installation visiting the dining facility and the barracks to see Soldiers' living conditions.
The next stop on the tour was the fitness center featuring a rock climbing wall, a swimming pool and a huge indoor gym with a walking track above it.
"It was of benefit from the point of view of the students to see how the design and organization of the base supports the accommodations for Soldiers' living and activities such as sports," said Istituto Antonio Canova teacher Bruno Ruaro. "It was also interesting that the traffic is limited, with the parking structures in the center and the movement inside the base will be by bike or on foot."
The last stop on the tour was the Warrior Zone, a recreation facility with game tables, Wi-Fi, a fast food area and a theater viewing room with reclining chairs.
"It was great to see how the well-being of its Soldiers is very important to the Army. I liked the way they take care of the landscape and the fact that the buildings are far apart from each other and not too congested," said Umberto Dalla Verde, a Canova student.
One student said he would love to live in such nice conditions and wished he could join the U.S. Army.
"As an outdoor and sport person I really liked the fitness center," said Davide Montagna, a student at Istituto Baronio. "It's just fantastic and I have never seen anything like this before. If I think of an American Soldier of my age who chooses to join the military, I think it is a very patriotic thing to do. Personally, after seeing such a military base I would not hesitate a moment to enlist here if I could."