WARNER ROBINS, Aug. 17, 2009 – How does a Georgia Air Guard unit go from what some saw as having the second worst facility in the nation to a state of the art building? The leadership for the 116th Civil Engineering Squadron (CES) at Robins Air Force Base would answer that with “work
work and more hard work.” The $4.1 million makeover of the squadron’s home will give the facility a complete facelift and will provide its Airmen 33,000 square feet of state of the art training, administration and shop space. This renovation has been in the works for more than a decade, and when finished, completes the plans made by a host of past and present wing commanders.
When the Air Guard’s former 116th Bomb Wing moved to Robins in the late 1990s, it and other units occupied “temporary facilities” while new construction and renovation was done on the wing’s current buildings. The 116th engineers, too, moved into a temporary building until construction of a permanent home was completed. However, several factors, such as the conversion of the bomb wing into an air control wing and the change over to JSTARS aircraft, the Global War on Terror and “force shaping,” lead to the postponement of the engineer squadron finding a permanent home.
In 2006, the National Guard Bureau conducted a facility assessment and determined that the 116th CES was residing in the second worst engineering compound in the Air National Guard. This led to another building being identified for the squadron’s new compound,and funding being appropriated for a concept study on how to adapt the facility for CES’ needs.
Funding, squadron leadership was told, to build the facility would have to wait until 2011, or so some believed. However, Lt Col Jeremy Simmons, the unit commander, successfully lobbied the bureau and obtained the funding for Fiscal Year 2009.
A full design of the new building was completed earlier this Spring, with bidding underway on the project by several construction companies. Once contracts are awarded, the winning
firms have about six weeks to mobilize and start work. Construction should take between 8 and 12 months to complete. When the work is done, the 116th engineers will have a new energy efficient facility. It will boast three training areas for wing personnel to obtain readiness and explosive ordnance demolition training. The new facility also will play a major role in future Operational Readiness Exercises. An added feature is a help desk inside the front entrance, which will provide a common focal point for facility maintenance requests.
Potential Fiscal Restraints and Continued Perseverance Facilitating a smooth transition into an increasingly restrained fiscal environment...