USAG Wiesbaden MILCON growth
February 20, 2008
By Justin Ward
At nowhere in Europe is U.S. Army restationing becoming more apparent than in Wiesbaden, Germany. This sleepy post that saw its heyday exactly 60 years ago when it served as the transport hub for the Berlin Airlift, is starting to wake up to the sound of cranes, backhoes, and cement trucks bringing in more than half a billion dollars of military construction, renovation, and development.
The commotion stems from an upcoming merger of the U.S. Army Europe (USAREUR) and the U.S. V Corps command headquarters - both currently stationed in Heidelberg - which will unite under the name "Seventh Army" and move to Wiesbaden within three years.
Upcoming military construction projects on the Wiesbaden garrison in support of the move include a $26 million network warfare center, an $89 million consolidated intelligence center, and a $119 million headquarters building, the largest single construction project the Army has ever seen in Wiesbaden.
Also upcoming is a $133 million housing program, which seeks to construct 326 new dwelling units where farmers' fields currently lie.
Pre-construction plans for these projects include the rerouting of traffic for truck access, storage, parking, and pedestrian routes; the surveying of groundwater, soil, and native species; the clearing of unexploded ordinance; and a complete upgrade of the water, sewer, electrical, heating, and telecommunications infrastructure (including running new lines to the proposed construction sites).
To complicate matters, all these new MILCON projects must match up with the host of existing and unrelated construction projects at Wiesbaden, totaling $141 million. These projects includes whole neighborhood revitalization efforts at the Hainerberg, Crestview, and Aukamm housing areas; a new $31 million lodge, an upcoming $8.3 million bowling center, and several smaller flagship renovation and environmental projects.
Appropriately, the first move of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - the construction agent for the program - was to start planning.
Currently, the Corps is developing a land-use plan for new and renovated AAFES and DeCA facilities at Hainerberg as well as several other plans for the Wiesbaden garrison, including a master plan, a stationing plan, and an integrated strategic sustainability plan.
To integrate these plans, the Corps has banded with the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's Directorate of Public Works and the local German government's construction management firms to propose a Transformation Stationing Management Office, where representatives from each group would be collocated in a single building. The collocation - a proven project paradigm for the Corps - will shorten channels of communication among construction parties and deliver products quicker to the customer.
The upsurge of Americans in Wiesbaden during the next five years - expected to rise from 12,000 Soldiers, family members, and civilians to 16,000 - has meant the transformation planners have also met consistently with city administration officials, who are stated view the growth "very positively."