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‘Optimize and modernize’ to keep installation solid

‘Optimize and modernize’ to keep installation solid

‘Optimize and modernize’ to keep installation solid

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The 88th Air Base Wing continues to highlight key operational aspects and principles in its new strategic plan.

The third of four updated lines of effort is: “Optimize and modernize the installation.”

Its goal is to “focus toward optimizing our existing physical infrastructure while striving to modernize the overarching capabilities across our installation sphere of influence,” the strategic plan states. “The wing is responsible to attend to and ensure our teammates have a safe, sound and secure environment to work within.”

Steven Vincent, professional engineer and director of the 88th Civil Engineer Group, has a colossal responsibility with 610 buildings on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, totaling over 16.7 million square feet. 

“Having a good master plan is key to the success,” he said. “We look at the functions that work well together and work intelligently, so we don’t have facilities that would conflict with each other.”

A major initiative is the installation’s overall energy needs and working to make those more efficient, including advocating for funding both centrally and locally.

When many of the buildings on base date back to 1946, the decision to overhaul or demolish them often arises. 

“Keeping the good facilities we have in good shape for the long haul is equally important to investing in modern facilities,” Vincent said. “That is one aspect of sustainability and resilience and investing in corrective maintenance to prevent deterioration is another.”

Not all modernization means physical change. It is also adopting modern ideas or methods. 

The Civil Engineer Group recently updated Bldg. 32 in Area B using the concept of hoteling.  As an alternative approach to individual office cubicles, this method optimized the existing space by allowing additional room for workspaces. 

Vincent said 88 CEG carefully considers each decision on which buildings get what. “We operate under robust asset-management principles,” he said. “That means spending the right dollar in the right place at the right time. That philosophy works as well for the Department of Defense as it does for business.”

A team of engineers and operations personnel work together to determine each building’s facility- condition index, considering aspects such as mechanical, electrical and heating/cooling systems, he added.  This assists in identifying priorities and making decisions on resource allocations.

“At present, we have hundreds of projects in the queue,” Vincent said.

88 CEG expects the finalization of its Installation Energy Plan within the week. The plan is set to modernize the base’s utility infrastructure with one of the benefits being increased resilience. 

“This report gives us the advocacy and visibility for projects,” Vincent said, “and also identifies the projects for fiscal years 2022 and 2023.”

The heat plant is also undergoing a utility upgrade. Located across the street from the shoppette, the plant supplies hot water for steam lines to heat many buildings on Area A. 

“Due to the age of the steam lines, much of the energy is lost.” Vincent said. “The modernization will decentralize some of the heating systems, increasing efficiency and creating less maintenance.”

The best way base personnel can embrace the 88 ABW strategic plan’s third line of effort is “helping to identify through your facility managers what the requirements are,” Vincent said. “A leaky roof or if something is not working, we need to know.”