WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --
The 509th Bomb Wing and the Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new vehicle maintenance facility on Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri Feb. 16, 2022.
The new vehicle maintenance facility will be 58,000 square feet in total, an approximately 20,000 square foot improvement over the old facility, and is expected to be completed by September 2023.
A project like this requires many moving parts and one of the most influential is the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“The Army Corps of Engineers is the driving force behind this project,” said Scott Fitzgerald, 509th Civil Engineer Squadron project manager. “From both design to solicitation of the contract to implementation and ultimately closing out the project to hand it over to the users when finished, the Army Corps is vital in ensuring these projects run as smoothly as possible.”
To ensure the new facility meets mission requirements, the USACE works diligently with both the 509th CES and the Airmen and civilians that will utilize the facility.
“These guys have been great to work with,” said Ben Schreiber, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers resident engineer. “Getting those that use the facility to help design a new project helps the facility go that extra mile. They are hands-on, they've been there and they've done that. They know where they need more space and where they don't. Getting that knowledge built into a facility that's going to be around for 25 plus years is vital. We're investing $25 million in this project so we want to get the taxpayers' return on that.
This collaboration allows new projects to streamline current processes and ultimately allow Airmen to better accomplish the mission with a variety of benefits that might not have been seen otherwise.
“Increased space utilization is one of the primary benefits with the new facility,” said Fitzgerald “The current building was originally built in the 1950s and was renovated in the 1980s. Between that time and now, mission requirements have changed drastically. We now have bigger equipment, wider equipment, and a much larger fleet than we used to.”
Modernization isn’t the only effect a large project like this has on Team Whiteman’s efficiency and overall readiness however.
“Large scale projects like this one, give our squadrons the ability to effectively carry out their mission by providing them the tools and resources necessary to do their jobs, and to be successful,” said 2nd Lt. Derrick Timm, 509th CES project manager. “This increases both efficiency and unit morale. If you have the tools you need to do your job, you're gonna be a lot less stressed out than if you don't.”
The project also includes the disposal of older facilities as well.
“Not only are we building a new facility, we are disposing of approximately 10 older buildings and a quickly decaying parking lot area on the north side of base,” said Timm. “Doing this helps consolidate smaller facilities, and saves money on maintenance by reducing the age and number of facilities on base. Having newer facilities requires less attention which also increases our readiness.”