By Daniel Lafontaine, RDECOMJune 30, 2011
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The focus of APG’s transformation efforts has shifted to accommodating the growth in the civilian workforce and the missions they accomplish, installation leaders told Lt. Gen. Dennis L. Via, Army Materiel Command deputy commanding general, during a visit here June 30.
Base Realignment and Closure at APG is on schedule to meet the Army’s Sept. 15 deadline, leaders said. Other initiatives not related to BRAC will increase the installation’s workforce past that date.
“Our planning is paying dividends. It’s about the mission, not the buildings,” said Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and senior APG commander.
Via and Justice discussed the challenges as APG transitions to a primarily civilian workforce.
When BRAC is complete, about 22,000 civilians and military personnel will work at APG. In addition, there is space for up to 8,000 contractors at the Government and Technology Enterprise Enhanced Use Lease area, known as GATE, at the Route 715 gate.
“In all of our bases that have moved from predominantly uniformed military to a civilian workforce, you have to go back to the Army to adjust,” Via said. “What can we do according to the regulations?”
Among APG’s challenges because of BRAC are transportation infrastructure, daycare centers, recreation facilities and dining options.
“What do we do for our civilian workforce? That’s one of our challenges,” Justice said. “The workforce here is primarily civilian, and I should be able to provide those services to them.”
APG Garrison Commander Col. Orlando Ortiz said his team is addressing these issues.
The installation used $44 million in stimulus funds from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for quality-of-life improvements, including renovations to Kirk Health Clinic, Dental Clinic, Hoyle Gymnasium, APG Athletic Center and Aberdeen Area Fitness Center.
APG will open a new Child Development Center in December, and Top of the Bay’s $3.4 million renovation will be complete in October, Ortiz said. The Post Theater re-opened in February after a $1.8 million renovation.
UFood Grill and Tim Hortons will bring new food choices.
Transportation remains APG’s greatest challenge resulting from BRAC, said Col. Andrew Nelson, deputy APG commander for transformation. BRAC will bring about 8,000 new commuters.
“We have over 200 people who already taking mass-transit options. That’s a shift in mindset of workers,” Nelson said.
APG is pushing for increased MARC and Amtrak service to APG to make it a better commuter option, Nelson said. He is also trying to add local and express bus service directly onto APG to support commuters without rail access.
“Public transportation has never been an option here in the past. It’s a cultural change,” Justice said.
Nelson noted that despite Maryland’s $42.6 million project at the intersection of U.S. 40 and Maryland 715, unfunded road projects near APG total $100 million.
Ortiz said BRAC construction is complete except for the headquarters of Army Test and Evaluation Command and Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense. The Army has spent about $1 billion for new construction and renovations.
Via also visited Communications"Electronics Command and Edgewood Chemical Biological Center during his two-day visit to APG.