FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- With the turn of a shovel July 14, the 502nd Air Base Wing got a little closer to establishing itself on Fort Sam Houston, as Brig. Gen. Leonard Patrick, 502nd ABW commander, was joined by various local and military officials in breaking ground for the wing's new headquarters.

The 25,733-square-foot building, which will be located just a few hundred feet from the Quadrangle on Wilson Street between Stanley and Liscum Roads, will cost approximately $7.4 million and have a 5.5-acre footprint. Officials are anticipating occupancy in July 2011.

"This building is being fast-tracked to get the general and his staff out of their doublewide trailer," said Frank Simas, deputy of the Joint Project Management Office, Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "We plan on being on time and on budget."

"This is truly an opportunity for us to move forward," Patrick told the assembled audience. "Part of the wing's vision statement is to 'Preserve our Heritage.' I promised I would honor that."

The 502d Air Base Wing consists of three major support elements. The Air Force elements are the 802nd Mission Support Group at Lackland and the 902nd MSG at Randolph AFB, while the Fort Sam Houston Garrison is renamed the 502nd MSG.

The Air Force was directed to be the executive agent for the action in San Antonio and this is the largest single Department of Defense installation. One of 12 joint bases within the DoD, the 502nd Air Base Wing will oversee installation support at Lackland and Randolph AFBs and Fort Sam Houston.

While being built in the shadow of some of the post's most historic buildings, the new Headquarter is being built with an eye on the future and will achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification.

"The project team is incorporating a variety of sustainable design elements including extensive use of local regional, certified wood, and recycled building materials," said H.D. Eisenhauer, chief of engineering for the 502nd ABW. "The facility also incorporates sustainable landscape measures, advanced building commissioning, a rainwater harvesting system for irrigation, a solar water heating system, and reducing the heat island effect with roofing and paving materials."

"This is something we can take great pride in," said Dr. Cem Maxwell, deputy director, San Antonio Joint Program Office at Randolph AFB.

"This may be a new building," Maxwell said, "But it will perform an age-old mission of sustaining our military and sustaining our national defense."

Construction on the building is being performed by LeeTex Construction LLC, in partnership with Hill & Wilkinson Ltd., with GSBS Architects out of Salt Lake City as part of the team supporting the prime contractor.

"This project was Air Force BRAC funded and Air Force led, but it would never have been possible without significant support and cooperation from our Army teammates," Eisenhauer said.

"The cooperation of this project is a reflection of the joint basing effort in San Antonio and the collaborative and supportive process it has been," he added. "This includes Fort Sam Houston's Department of Public Works' cultural resources staff, who has helped us ensure the building will adequately respect the historic nature of its site and adjacent historic districts and architecture, in both materials and architectural forms."

"Additionally, the Army Corps of Engineers team, and the San Antonio Joint Program Management Office, have been key members and involved in this project as well," Eisenhauer said. "The success of this project is really a credit to a great team."

"Construction like this means a lot to our military and to the city of San Antonio," Maxwell reiterated. "This is one part of the $8.3 billion impact that BRAC has had on San Antonio."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16