USAG-HI master plan is a sustainable, holistic effort
April 7, 2014
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (April 4, 2014) -- Failure to plan is planning to fail, and no place is this adage truer than when it comes to mapping out U.S. Army installations.
New Department of Defense planning guidelines, released in May 2012, call for the "compact development" of military installations worldwide, incorporating a mix of residential housing close to shops and other businesses, along with mass transit, the proper use of green space and a shift toward sustainable "walkable communities" -- a far cry from the suburban-sprawl-style bases of today.
What this translates to, according to DOD officials, is a need for garrisons to create an overarching master plan for their installations in order to increase efficiency of operations and improve quality of life for those who live and work on base.
"We've never really had a full master plan for the entire Army in Hawaii," said Dave Pawlak, chief, Planning Division, Directorate of Public Works, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.
"It's very rare for the Army to have the entire plan laid out in front of them," Pawlak explained. "We're hoping that by coming up with a plan, that it will allow us the flexibility to get those projects built."
That "plan" to which Pawlak is referring is a $1.3 million project that began in December 2013 with an area development plan (ADP) session of Helemano Military Reservation, Aliamanu Military Reservation and Fort DeRussy, with additional ADPs and workshops to take place over the course of 10 months.
According to Pawlak, normally, an installation would take six months to one year to complete one ADP, as a lack of proper funding usually prevents any more from being done.
However, Col. Daniel Whitney, commander, USAG-HI, approved year-end money to be used to complete ADPs for all 13 installations of USAG-HI under one contract, at one time, save Pohakuloa Training Area, which currently is being completed under a different contract.
"There is an energy and sustainability piece to this not normally part of an ADP, but because we had the funding we were able to add that module into it, as well," said Pawlak, noting that the overall master plan project also includes monies for capital investment strategies, short-range plans, long-range plans and a real-property master planning digest, a "Reader's Digest" executive summary of what the base is expected to look like in the future," he said.
"All of our major installations are going to be covered under this contract," said Mark Mitsunaga, master planner, Planning Division, DPW, USAG-HI.
"We needed to update the master plan to create the road ahead," Mitsunaga explained. "When we look at our master plan, we have to put everything together to get the holistic picture, because all of the different parts have a special contribution to the whole. This is an opportunity to bring everybody together, to explain to them the game rules, and to get their input on what their particular vision is for the future."
Recently, various stakeholders from throughout the garrison attended an ADP of the Schofield Barracks Kolekole region, which spans the western portion of the base and includes enlisted housing, the area west of Conroy Bowl, the Commissary and Exchange, the Nehelani and Solomon Elementary School.
"In an ADP, we bring all of the people who are impacted by the master plan, and they talk about what they need, what their space requirements are, what would fit best in terms of the locations, if there are any infrastructure issues … what, in a perfect world, would they like to see in terms of a planned community," said Pawlak.
"This is not a one-person or one-office event; this is a holistic thing, where everybody is part of the process, and we need all of their input," Mitsunaga added.
Over the course of four days, March 17-20, participants took part in interactive, hands-on learning sessions and field studies to become subject matter experts on the district. They also worked in groups to create a comprehensive development vision for the area, while incorporating the latest DOD guidance.
"We were educated in the world of engineering, which is not typically my job, but I've become more mindful of what properly planned communities should look like," said Yuuko Arikawa, school renewal specialist for the Leilehua Complex of the Hawaii State Department of Education.
"In the groups, we're all looking at (the ADP) and thinking about it from different perspectives, which is really great, because we have to consider that we don't function in isolation," Arikawa added. "We need to see how our work impacts other people and how their work impacts us as well, and to find a way so that we can co-exist and still be able to establish what we?'re trying to do."
"What we (as Soldiers) really are concerned about are where we work every day -- where we're going to train, where we're going to store all of our equipment -- so mediating in the same group with someone like Yuuko, who is focused on schools, is definitely a necessary balance befitting the capabilities, the mission and the support of all the people who live and work on the installation," agreed Capt. Matthew Hamilton of the division engineer office for Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 25th Infantry Division.
"They're learning as they're participating in these sessions," Pawlak said. "They get to see what they're developing, and when we develop the communities out, they get to know that they had a stake in the development plan."
At the end of the workshop, participants presented their preferred plan to USAG-HI senior leaders for questions and comments.
The next step, according to Pawlak, is to refine the plans and present them to all major stakeholders for their review and stamp of approval.
"That becomes the template for that district or base," Pawlak said. "It's not final; we can always change it. It's a living document, but it allows us to use that as a road map for how we approach master planning."
"With this road map, we're looking 30-50 years into the future," Mitsunaga noted. "If you don't have a plan or a road map, it's hard to get from here to there.
"Now is the opportunity to set things straight," Mitsunaga added. "It's not going to happen overnight, because it's an accumulation of things over the last few decades. It's a huge undertaking, and it's very complex, but it's been long overdue."
The next area development plan (ADP) workshop for the U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Real Property Master Plan Update is April 21-24 at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, Schofield Barracks.
The districts to be discussed are Tripler Army Medical Center and Areas 7 and 9. RSVP no later than April 14 if you plan to attend.
Remaining workshops are as follows:
•Energy and Sustainability Workshop, May 19-22, Schofield Barracks;
•Wheeler Army Airfield ADP Workshop, June 2-5, Wheeler Chapel;
•Fort Shafter ADP Workshop, July 28-31, Shafter DFAC; and
•Installation Design Guide/Installation Development Plan/Digest Workshop, Aug. 12-15, TBD.
Workshop practicum has been approved for professional continuing education credits from the American Planning Association and the American Institute of Architects.
Also, there will be a town hall meeting and review Sept. 16-17 (location to be announced).
For updates or to attend, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.