Maxwell supports AF 20/20 plan
By Staff Sgt. Natasha Stannard, 42nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 06, 2013
MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. --
Last fiscal year, the 42nd Civil Engineer Squadron demolished 11 buildings on base as part of the base revitalization program supporting the Air Force Civil Engineer's "20/20 by 2020" program.
The program seeks to offset a 20 percent funding reduction for installation support activities by reducing and consolidating square footage that needs funding in the year 2020 by 20 percent.
Maxwell's part in this plan involves demolishing at least 85,000 square feet of unneeded facility space each year.
Since Maxwell became involved with the initiative in 2007, the base has demolished or is in the process of demolishing 546,352 square feet of space, with 85,048 square feet of that in fiscal year 2013. The 42nd CES goal is to reach 1.18 million square feet by 2020, according to information provided by the squadron.
"In the Air Force inventory, we have buildings that were built in the 1940s as temporary buildings," said Bruce Arnold, 42nd CES civil engineer manager. "The maintenance and utility costs to keep them running is too high. Essentially, they have outlived their usefulness."
Active offices using this space will move to newer facilities where they can better facilitate mission requirements. In the long run, it is more cost and energy efficient to demolish older buildings and find uses for newer, vacant ones, explained Arnold.
Demolishing the buildings also creates green space and environmentally friendly land to give back to the base community for recreational uses. Most historic facilities will remain intact to maintain Air Force heritage.
"However, we never tear a building down just because we have a goal to meet," emphasized Michael Allen, 42nd CES director.
Demolition is actually the last resort. First, engineers have to check if there is any way to reuse or repurpose a building in both the immediate and distant future. If there is no foreseen use, the demolition request must also be brought up to an installation facilities board for approval.
This process is practiced to avoid unnecessary costs down the line, Allen explained. For example, if a purpose can be found for a vacant building that is structurally safe and doesn't cost more to repair than a new facility would to build, it would be found more cost efficient to not demolish. However, when repair and energy costs outweigh the price of a new structure, demolition may be considered the more effective choice.
The plan and processes aren't as much about destroying buildings as they are about creating a greener footprint and having less energy and maintenance needs.
While energy and maintenance are saved in the long run, the upfront demolition cost is more than $850,000 this fiscal year. However, 42nd CES officials estimate that tearing the buildings down will save $200,000 annually in energy consumption and
maintenance costs alone. It also deters the need to renovate, saving even more money. This means that the initial costs will be paid back within five years, according to information provided by the 42nd CES.
A recent example of this plan is the relocation of the base multimedia center. The center was in a 71-year-old, non-historical building riddled with structural issues and utility inefficiencies. The 42nd CES deemed the building as one of the ones that "outlived its use," as the costs to run and renovate were too high.
"The repair work needed with the possibility of other issues coming up was not worth making," said Jayme Ivey, 42nd CES engineering technician. "It was of best interest to relocate the function."
The multimedia center is now co-located with the Maxwell Bowling Center in building 45.
More functions that recently moved or will move to a new location are components of the Carl A. Spaatz Center for Officer Education, to include the Air Force Counter Proliferation Center, Air Force Public Affairs Center of Excellence, the Air Force Center for Strategy and Technology and the Air Force Culture and Language Center. These offices, along with a few others, that serve officer education needs were housed in four separate buildings not in the Academic Circle. Moving the centers to the Circle not only brought them closer to the other education areas, but also consolidated them to two newer buildings.
"The CPC move was very advantageous as it makes communication faster between centers that work together," said Lt. Col. Todd Butler, CPC deputy director. "In addition, the centers' faculty also teaches students who attend the various schools within the Circle, making it a more opportune location for all."
Before moving, the CPC was located in building 1450, which was built in 1937.
While the base is supporting the 2020 program, Allen looks at the initiatives in place to meet the requirements with an open mind.
"We have an aggressive plan, but we are well aware that some of these buildings may not get demolished due to funding approval and mission requirement shifts," he said
"We have to go through the steps, and only then can we go forward, because the buildings have to meet all the criteria before we can demolish them. We're just being responsible stewards by doing this where it makes sense, and not for just the sake of meeting a goal."