Garrison Busy With Post Construction
September 10, 2010
- No matter what security gate Arsenal employees pass through each day, they are bound to drive by a new facility or construction site.
- "We've had one of the biggest years probably across the board construction wise. And, going into this next year, we will see even more."
- The entire Army and non-Army construction picture on Redstone exceeds $565 million.
- BRAC and non-BRAC construction is "transforming the Arsenal into more of a federal office park that still has room for further growth."
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- Growth - and all the planning, construction and change that goes along with it - is a daily event on Redstone Arsenal.
From the east to the west, north to the south, there is growth like never before on the Arsenal. No matter what security gate Arsenal employees pass through each day, they are bound to drive by a new facility, a construction site or an area planned for future growth.
"We've had one of the biggest years probably across the board construction wise," said Joey Skinner, deputy director of the Garrison's Directorate of Public Works. "And, going into this next year, we will see even more."
The entire Army and non-Army construction picture on Redstone exceeds $565 million, which includes major facilities being built in support of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendations that were put into law in 2005. Based on the projects currently under construction, square footage on the Arsenal will increase by 15 percent by 2011, going from 11.7 million before the building boom began in 2007 to 13.1 million at the end of 2011.
Much of that growth is preparing the Arsenal for new employees related to BRAC. Other growth is associated with NASA or federal agencies moving or expanding at Redstone. And, in preparation for those new employees, there has also been growth in basic and community enrichment facilities.
Today's construction growth, though, isn't only to fill the needs of current and new Arsenal tenants. It's also about setting the Arsenal up for its future.
"BRAC and non-BRAC growth construction is enhancing capabilities in support of the war fighter while also transforming the Arsenal into more of a federal office park that still has room for further growth," Garrison commander Col. Bob Pastorelli said.
Growth today will lead to growth tomorrow as more and more Army and federal agencies dig their roots into Arsenal soil.
"I think we have a great opportunity to grow in the many different areas of logistics, research and development, explosive operations and research, aviation and missile testing and development, software development, acquisition and NASA as well as other areas," Skinner said.
"I don't know where else you have all those different components in one location. Bringing these different entities together provides for better coordination of efforts and partnering up. The groundwork has been laid for all these agencies to continue to grow."
Public Works team
The Directorate of Public Works and its 190 employees oversee, manage and coordinate the Arsenal's construction projects. They work within five divisions - Master Planning, Engineering, Environmental, Business Operations and Integration, and Housing. Another area of growth - the Enhanced Use Lease project involving 4.6 million square feet of office space and contractor support projects - has become a stand-alone area of work within Public Works.
"We've got some great folks in our organization who are embedded and working these different projects," Skinner said.
As a Garrison organization, the responsibilities of Public Works cross over the entire community of 70-plus organizations on the Arsenal. For that reason, the Arsenal's senior commander - Maj. Gen. Jim Myles - relies on Public Works to provide the services needed to maintain, sustain and grow Arsenal facilities.
"The Garrison is the senior commander's lead agent in all construction matters and will execute his priorities for military construction, and other critical infrastructure and construction requirements," Pastorelli said. "Our bottom line -- any construction requirement must be in step with the master plan and with continuous oversight by the Directorate of Public Works."
That responsibility puts the Public Works employees at the heart of the Arsenal's growth. And the closest artery to that heart is the Master Planning Division.
"We provide support to customers for programming and planning their military construction project requirements," said John Green, chief of Public Works' Master Planning Division.
"We also work with the Corps of Engineers to ensure these projects are designed and constructed to meet our customer's and the installation's needs. A large part of the planning process is developing and maintaining the installation's master plan along with the installation's design standards. We do this with input from multiple Garrison offices as well as the installation's stakeholders and tenants."
Large construction projects - the ones that raise the physical profile of the Arsenal - are the focus of oversight for the Master Planning Division.
"The majority of our work into fiscal year 2011 will be completing our current BRAC and military construction projects, valued at over $400 million," Green said.
In fiscal year 2010, Arsenal employees have seen major projects under construction that are related to BRAC recommendations and that must be occupied by Sept. 15, 2011. They are the $143 million, 401,000-square-foot Army Materiel Command and Security Assistance Command headquarters on Martin Road, the $228 million, 840,000-square-foot Missile Defense Agency headquarters at the Von Braun Complex, and the Redstone Test Center's $51.5 million, 126,000-square-foot Rotary Wing Center Hangar Facility at the Redstone Airfield and its 37,000-square-foot headquarters building on Martin Road.
In addition, construction not related to BRAC includes the $28.5 million, 83,000-square-foot Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms National Center for Explosives Training and Research on Patton Road, and the $20 million Software Engineering Directorate Phase II and the $16.5 million Software Engineering Directorate Phase III near the Redstone Airfield.
"For many of these buildings, you'll see the outside looking fairly complete. But there is still work being done in these buildings to get them ready. Furniture and other things are being done inside to get them ready for occupancy," Green said.
While these construction projects are nearing completion, Green said there are other projects just now getting off the drawing board. The $2 million Field Sensors Test Facility at Test Area 3 is a recent construction project while the $3.6 million security gate renovation project for Martin Road's Gate 7 and the $4 million Component Climatic Test Facility near Buxton Road will be awarded soon to construction contractors.
And then there are the projects still on the drawing board. One major project is the FBI-led initiatives to build the $230 million Terrorist Explosive Devices Analytical Center that involves 400 acres at two sites.
"We are anticipating the award of the first phase in the next year," Green said. "This $100 million project would construct facilities to support the collection of forensic evidence from improvised explosive devices.
"Total build out for the TEDAC complex will be over 300,000 square feet. The project is still somewhat questionable ... We won't know for certain until the budget is approved by Congress, sometime around March 2011."
Phase I, which is planned for land located south of Fowler Road and east of Dodd Road, will include administrative and warehouse space, an intake center with loading docks and an explosives range. Phase II, which is planned for land located east of Patton and west of the existing hazardous devices school near Gate 3, will include lab space. Potential future phases for additional capabilities are also possible.
"Sen. (Richard) Shelby wants Redstone Arsenal to be an explosives center of expertise," Green said. "We will have the ATF facility, which is involved with post-blast and demolition explosions. We have the propulsion structures directorate at the Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center and we have explosives testing with the Redstone Test Center. The hazardous devices school trains explosive bomb technicians on how to render explosives safe. The TEDAC would add pre-blast capabilities to that mix. All these groups can come together at Redstone and share common knowledge."
Other new construction expected for the Arsenal includes a $12 million project to provide modern facilities for the explosive ordnance exploitation mission managed by the Missile and Space Intelligence Center. And, once construction is complete in early 2011 on Phase III of the Software Engineering Directorate, work will begin on two additional phases for an additional 210,000 square feet of lab, high bay and administrative space.
Facilities that have been completed this year include the 5,000-square-foot Garrison Support Services Center and its sister building for visual information, both on Vincent Drive. Also soon to be completed will be the $5 million ongoing renovation of building 5250 (Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space), the $4 million in renovations to Fox Army Health Center and the new $4.383 million Army Materiel Command band facility.
On the NASA side of the Arsenal, Marshall Space Flight Center has six ongoing projects totaling $46 million. During this year, another $13 million in construction on three projects began and in fiscal 2011 three projects totaling $54 million will begin, according to Kent Criswell of NASA/MSFC Facilities Planning Group.
Basic service facilities are also in the Master Planning mix. Now being worked are plans for a cafeteria to be constructed for the AMC/Security Assistance Command complex and for another branch of Redstone Federal Credit Union to be built along Martin Road. The division is also working to ensure the addition of more support facilities.
"With the BRAC-mandated transfer of the Ordnance Munitions and Electronics Maintenance School functions, a large area which previously served training operations, will now be converted to administrative and non-hazardous testing," Green said.
While Martin Road is becoming a corridor for the research, development and management of programs, it is also becoming an area requiring further support services. One such service - child care - will be offered soon at the new $7 million child care facility that will accommodate up to 180 children on Mills Road just south of Martin.
"Our new Child Development Center for the work force's children is an important step for us because it supports family critical needs and the tenants of the Army Family Covenant," Pastorelli said.
Besides the Child Development Center, the Directorate of Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation is finishing up work on about $8 million worth of construction. The organization has completed work on the renovated Col. Stephen Scott Fitness Center, RV Park, Redstone Bowling Center Solarium and the Arts & Craft Center, improvements and additions to the Links at Redstone, and drainage, bathroom and design improvements to the Parade Field. Construction still ongoing includes the new Child Development Center, Diane Campbell Community Center (formerly recreation center); the new 5,000-square-foot Conference Overlook near the Officers and Civilians Club; the new 5,000-square-foot Outdoor Recreation Complex; and renovations and improvements to the Post Library, Pagano Gym and Col. Carroll Hudson Recreation Area.
One construction project sure to have a tremendous impact on the Arsenal community will be the Enhanced Use Lease project, known as Redstone Gateway. The state-of-the-art research park will provide 4.6 million square feet of office space - equal to the size of four Sparkman Centers - on 485 acres adjacent to Gate 9.
"The Garrison's involvement in the overall coordination of this project is very much like the work done for our Master Plan. Public Works will reach out and touch all the different components," Skinner said of the work that will be done by Garrison manager Craig Northridge.
"This is a partnership with the Arsenal, and the Garrison is very heavily involved throughout the process because at the end of the 50-year lease these facilities will become Arsenal property. We have a vested interest."
The project will help alleviate space needs on the Arsenal.
"Right now, we are over 1 million square feet short of space," Skinner said. "We can use Redstone Gateway to provide work space for our tenants and then move them onto the Arsenal once their buildings are built. It will allow us to grow more rapidly.
"The Department of Defense is doing EUL in other places, too. This is going to be the biggest thing that's ever happened to Redstone Arsenal."
As much as $2 million a year in in-kind services will be returned to the Garrison once the EUL is built out. Those in-kind services will result in new and improved roads, and better maintained Arsenal facilities.
When it comes to bringing new construction projects to Redstone Arsenal, all roads lead to the Master Planning Division, which ensures that the Arsenal's 38,000 acres are developed to best utilize the land and to maintain an overall development plan.
"The Arsenal is divided into several land use categories, each planned primarily for a particular type of mission," Green said.
"Housing and quality of life programs are located on the northern end of installation, administrative near the middle, and test ranges and hazardous operations near the western and southern boundaries."
While Master Planning focuses on plans for large construction projects, it is the Public Works' Engineering Division that works closely with tenants on a day-to-day basis to support renovation and new building needs. From installing new doors, painting rooms and paving parking lots, the Engineering Division touches on the day-to-day lives of Arsenal employees.
"These projects involve maintenance repairs not exceeding $5 million and new construction not exceeding $750,000," Skinner said.
"That may seem small in comparison to some of our bigger projects. But, this last year, this organization, by itself, basically did around $86 million in construction and that's a lot of small projects. It took numerous projects to total up to that."
About $26 million of that was stimulus funds used for infrastructure improvements, including replacing steam, water and gas lines, and rebuilding an Airfield runway and turnaround.
"We had water lines that were 50-plus years old. We have been having a lot of leaks and we were losing gallons of water each day," Skinner said.
The Engineering Division oversees renovation and upgrade projects that lead to significant improvements in productivity and efficiencies for Arsenal employees.
"We are involved with all the renovation projects on the Arsenal and with a lot of the new buildings," said Keith Cook, chief of the Engineering Division. Those projects have included the FMWR renovations and new facilities, renovations to building 5250, Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, and several range facilities for the Redstone Test Center.
Fiscal 2011 will see more of the same as the Engineering Division takes on the $1.2 million renovation of Heiser Hall, and the tenant-driven renovations to the OMEMS school house buildings as the school moves and other tenants move into the administrative space.
"We do our work through work orders," Cook said. "We do design work on projects above $100,000. Right now, we have 120 jobs in the design backlog. Who gets priority depends on who sends in the money to pay for their project.
"We also do credit card work below $100,00 that covers things like painting, putting on new roofs, paving parking lots, and those we can get done in two to three weeks."
As buildings go up on the Arsenal, another Public Works division - Environmental Management and its Installation Restoration Branch -- works to ensure that the Arsenal environment is healthy and safe. And that is a big task at an installation that was once the site for munitions and chemical manufacturing.
"The Installation Restoration Branch manages 199 active hazardous waste sites on Redstone," said division chief Terry de la Paz.
"We review all work orders and construction projects to ensure that there is no endangerment to human health or the environment as a result of projects that must be completed prior to the site being cleaned up."
Site cleanup is prioritized based on "identified future mission needs," including construction activities, she said. The level of cleanup is also determined by mission use. For example, an industrial site cleanup is not as restrictive as sites identified as residential areas.
"We allocate cleanup resources accordingly to be protective of current and future planned use," de la Paz said.
There is an ongoing $300 million effort to clean up the 199 hazardous Arsenal sites. The contract "provides cleanup services from initial investigation of a new site all the way to completed remedial actions," de la Paz said.
"Each of the 199 hazardous waste sites has a schedule for cleanup. The schedules are based on, one, ensuring the protection of human health and the environment, followed by, two, current and future mission needs. The goal for cleaning up the majority of the sites on Redstone is fiscal year 2014. Some may take several more years to complete, depending on complexity of the cleanup action."
When new customers come to the Garrison to search out a site for construction, the Environmental Management Division works with Master Planning to find suitable locations not on hazardous waste sites or to ensure acceptable levels of cleanup on sites that do contain hazardous waste.
Two other Public Works divisions - Business Operations and Integration, and Housing -- work in areas specific to Garrison customers.
Business Operations and Integration oversees $50 million in contracts annually to provide such services as ground maintenance, custodial work, pest control, refuse collection and utility support.
The division is involved with all new and ongoing construction projects in terms of utility work, including locating existing utilities for digging clearances, providing utility outage requests and coordinating connections of new utilities. Once facilities are occupied, the division provides all building mechanical and electrical equipment operations, normal maintenance and repair services, custodial services, refuse collection/disposal, pest control and grounds maintenance, said Business Operations and Integration Division chief Greg Calvert.
"These are the unsung heroes of Public Works," Skinner said. "They support the facilities of all Arsenal tenants."
The Housing Division, which provides homes on the Arsenal, is also involved with construction projects that are renovating and repairing 232 of the installation's homes.
"We just completed our Initial Development Phase in April 2009 in which we saw two new homes built, renovations to most of the remaining inventory and a new Welcome Center," said Ray Zapata, Housing Division chief. "A new out-year plan is being worked by Hunt, our (private industry) project partner. It is expected to present a plan to address planned roof replacements, HVAC, roads and future renovations plans in the out years."
Currently, there is 90 percent occupancy in Arsenal Housing.
"That's exceptional to have that much of our inventory occupied," Skinner said. "But the dynamics are changing. Young Soldiers are leaving. More senior Soldiers are coming. The question will be: 'Do they live on post or off post'' How will changes affect the neighborhoods' We will have to do an economic analysis to determine how many homes can be added and still be profitable."
Even with today's construction, there is still as much as 3,000 acres that are currently buildable on Redstone Arsenal. Other parts of the 38,000-acre installation are also available for construction, yet they would require some environmental and preparation work.
"If another BRAC were to occur, we would have the space to accommodate even more new tenants," Skinner said. "We are making infrastructure improvements as we grow, and that puts us in a good position for future growth needs."