Happy New Fiscal Year: USACE in Europe wraps up FY11
October 12, 2011
WIESBADEN, Germany -- Members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District said farewell and welcomed two district commanders in less than six months, but that didn't stop them from executing an additional $146.6 million over the previous fiscal year.
The Europe District closed the books on FY2011 wrapping up the fiscal year with 1,624 actions -- roughly $674.2 million -- in spite of a workforce down 8 percent from the previous fiscal year.
STEPS TOWARD NET ZERO
With 63 projects registered with the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design registry, the Europe District is making headway on its LEED program.
A $25 million sustainable distribution center in Germersheim was turned over to the Defense Logistics Agency in August, and the first low-energy "passivhauser," or passive houses, were delivered to the Ansbach military community in June.
Additionally, the district broke ground in November on the $20 million NATO Special Operations Headquarters in Mons, Belgium, and continues to make headway on the $119 million U.S. Army Europe Mission Control Center in Wiesbaden. Both projects are slated to meet LEED Silver requirements.
"The passive houses and the distribution center were major steps forward and just a part of our overall goal of constructing our facilities to be more energy efficient and the Army's vision of Net Zero installations," said James Noble, chief of the district's Engineering Branch.
"The Army implemented LEED standards because they had goals to be more sustainable, to be more energy efficient, use less water and provide a better working environment for the people inside the buildings," said Rich Gifaldi, the district's sustainability engineering manager. "LEED is an efficient tool to be able to measure how well those goals are met."
BREAKING NEW GROUND
Construction of the passive houses was not the district's only "first" this fiscal year. Engineers in Grafenwoehr were given the task of repairing two dams in the Army's training area. While many stateside USACE districts are tasked with water projects, the dams are the first of its kind for the Europe District.
Additionally, the district saw almost a 150 percent increase in operations and maintenance work this fiscal year from its sister service, the U.S. Air Force, in Ramstein. Although the requests began in summer 2009, the district's efficiency in project delivery resulted in an exponential increase in O&M contracts.
"We already had JOCs [Job Order Contracts] and MATOCs [Multiple Award Task Order Contracts] in place making it easy for us to pick up some of the Air Force's excess O&M work when they were oversaturated," said Scott Deetz, resident engineer at the district's Ramstein Resident Office. "We provide quality and timeliness. We also provided turn-key and design."
BUILDING STRONG AROUND THE WORLD
While the majority of the district's workload lies in military construction, members also had the opportunity to deliver several goodwill projects in Eastern Europe in partnership with the U.S. European Command and U.S. Agency for International Development.
The Croatian town of Karlovac celebrated the delivery of a special-needs playground in June while the Armenian towns of Talin and Sasnashen received renovations to a polyclinic and kindergarten, respectively, in September.
Estonia's Police and Border Guard Bureau received a helicopter landing pad in October in support of its counter-narcotics and border control operations, and renovations on three hospitals in the Republic of Georgia also began early in the fiscal year.
"These projects are about helping people and their communities," said Wayne Uhl, chief of the district's International Engineering. "While the projects comprise of relatively small dollar amounts compared to other construction projects, the payoff comes in the strong partnerships fostered between the U.S. and these countries."
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2012 AND BEYOND
Although the current economic climate is likely to affect upcoming fiscal years, as with many other DoD agencies, employees are already tackling the estimated $754 million FY2012 program.
The Europe District has several larger projects on its plate, including design of the $1.2 billion Kaiserslautern Military Community Medical Center, roughly $600 million in constructing and renovating schools for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe, and $215 million in Wiesbaden Transformation projects.
With DoD committing to build and renovate more than 100 DoDDS schools through the 21st Century Education Environment, the district is actively supporting the initiative with five projects soon to begin the design process, six projects in design, another four under construction and more in the pipeline.
"A recapitalization program of this size is a rare opportunity. Not only will it improve the functionality and condition of our educational facilities, it will allow for flexible educational environments that are adaptable to future changes in educational philosophy and technique," said Mike Mollineaux, district DoDDS-E program manager.
Meanwhile, the Wiesbaden community continues to see its own construction boom. In addition to the USAREUR MCC, construction is expected to begin on a $91 million Consolidated Intelligence Center and design is expected to begin on a $30.4 million Network Warfare Center.
Quality-of-life upgrades for the growing military community are also in the works, including a $3.7 million Auto Skills Center and a AAFES Post Exchange and DeCA Commissary complex on the horizon. Additionally, the new family housing units south of the Wiesbaden Army Airfield, a $133 million project, are expected to be delivered in 2012.
"We've made a lot of progress in the Wiesbaden military community and there's much more to come. While the Army continues to modernize its force, we've helped modernize its facilities and support its consolidation efforts," said Jamie McCormick, acting-resident engineer at the district's WAAF Resident Office.
Further afield, although the district's Wye River Memorandum program in Isreal wrapped up in FY2010, that didn't stop the country from utilizing the district's foreign military sales program. Today, more than $300 million is projected in current and upcoming projects.
"These projects help provide the U.S. with an important ally in the Middle East. We have a great relationship with our Israeli partners and we hope to preserve our relationship by continuing to support critical construction and engineering projects," said Capt. Nathan Davis, deputy area engineer at the district's Israel Area Office.
Throughout the fiscal year, the district's 433 employee workforce worked hard to prove why they are the organization of choice for its strategic partners, according to Col. D. Peter Helmlinger, district commander.
"All in an effort to carry out the Army Corps of Engineers vision of a highly-disciplined engineering force working with its partners to deliver innovative and sustainable solutions to the nation's engineering challenges," he said.