Civil engineers overseeing 89 active projects for FY18
By Brad Hicks, AEDC/PA
/ Published December 07, 2017
ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN. --
From the replacement of electrical switchgear for safety and reliability enhancement to significant office space renovations, the Civil Engineering Branch at Arnold Air Force Base will have its hands full this fiscal year with a spate of projects supporting each of the Combined Test Forces and general base infrastructure.
According to Engineering Section Chief Jim Tapp, the CE program for the 2018 fiscal year includes 89 active projects valued at a total of approximately $112 million.
“We are working on projects in support of the overall installation and each of the CTFs to help ensure the missions at Arnold Air Force Base can continue in a reliable and safe manner,” Tapp said. “We have a lot of great folks helping us get the job done across the base including contracting, safety, designers, construction managers, construction contractors and project managers. It’s important for us all to realize that there is a significant amount of construction ongoing; everyone should take a little extra time every day to think about safety and what’s going on in and around their work areas.”
Tapp said the projects for the current fiscal year, include efforts that are currently ongoing as well as projects CE intends to award contracts for during the 2018 fiscal year.
“What that means is some of these projects were awarded in previous fiscal years, but the actual boots on the ground work is occurring in FY18,” he said.
Among the projects is the replacement of the HVAC system in the high bay of the von Kármán Gas Dynamics Facility.
“Under SLEP, we awarded a contract to replace the old HVAC system. The new system should be operational in the spring of 2018 and will greatly improve efficiency and reliability of test cell conditions within VKF,” he said.
The Service Life Extension Program, or SLEP, is a five-year program which began at AEDC during the 2017 fiscal year. More than 45 percent of the current CE program is part of SLEP, and CE is responsible for managing the base support, facilities and utilities projects associated with SLEP.
In an effort to bolster safety at the VKF and Propulsion Wind Tunnel, elevated work platforms within both facilities will be replaced. This work will also be completed through SLEP.
Also underway is a project to renovate the J-5 Solid Rocket Motor Test Facility controls building which will support ongoing efforts to enhance the Hypersonics mission at AEDC.
Aging switchgear lineups are set to be replaced across the installation, including the PWT, High Temperature Lab, Engine Test Facility-B Plant, ETF-C Plant and Plenum Evacuation System. Switchgear is equipment used to protect and isolate electrical equipment such as motors, motor control centers and facility power.
Tapp said some of the switchgear found within Arnold facilities is several decades old, adding the replacement of this aging infrastructure will enhance safety and reliability.
“This new switchgear will greatly reduce risk of arc flash and will increase our safety and reliability of the mission,” Tapp said.
An ongoing project will move closer to completion during this fiscal year. Tapp said phases three and four of the base-wide water distribution system replacement project are scheduled to begin in fiscal year 2018. This project is made up of six total phases, and phases five and six are projected to be completed during fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2020, respectively.
A ribbon cutting ceremony took place in October to mark the completion of renovations to the VKF Facility Main Test & Laboratory Building.
According to Test Support Division Engineering Section project manager Tony Pennington, the second phase of the two-phase project at VKF was recently completed. The building was originally constructed in two parts – the South Wing in 1953 and the North Wing addition in 1956. A contract for the renovation of the South Wing was awarded and completed in 2015, while the contract for the North Wing work was awarded in January.
The renovation work at VKF included HVAC replacement, fire suppression system upgrades, and improvements to facility lighting, flooring and walls. Work also included both mold and asbestos abatement, as well as personnel relocation as work continued.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was also held recently to mark the completion of major renovations to the Medical Aid Station. Tech. Sgt. Beverly Spademan, who is in charge of Medical Administration at Arnold AFB, said the work, which came with an initial price tag of approximately $1.2 million, was done to bring the facility up to date and up to code.
The renovation project started in September 2016 and concluded this past summer but continues to be an open project for the 2018 fiscal year. The basic aim of the project was to get both sides of the building looking the same while also addressing issues with the HVAC system, lighting, plumbing and accessibility. Both sides of the Medical Aid Station received new flooring, ceilings, lighting and paint. Walls, doors and cabinetry were also upgraded to provide a unified interior throughout the building. The portion providing services for current military had not received a major renovation since the facility was constructed in the 1950s, and the clinic operated by Veterans Affairs providing treatment to veterans, had not received a major renovation since the 1990s.
Through the project, a pole mounted transformer at the Medical Aid Station was replaced with a pad mount transformer, and HVAC systems were upgraded throughout the building.
Lobby restrooms were brought up to current codes for handicapped access, the kitchen area was upgraded, and security upgrades were included in the renovation. New waiting room furniture was also added.
Other projects for the current fiscal year include the replacement of sewer lift stations across Arnold AFB; the replacement of suction valves at the Secondary Pumping Station; the replacement of a large outdoor crane serving the PWT, a project slated to begin this year that will likely carry over into the 2019 fiscal year; the expansion of the AEDC Fire Station; renovations at Building 1478 to provide new office space for base personnel; and security improvements to the main gate.
Civil engineers are already making plans for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years, and anticipate the trend of significant improvements to the base to continue.