The Civil Engineering Division dominates the dirty work

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elizabeth Figueroa
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- When it comes to dominating the dirty work, the Civil Engineering Division, a subordinate unit of the 88th Civil Engineer Group, demonstrates its skills by keeping the facilities on the installation safe and functioning for the community.

“We handle the life cycle of a project,” said Mike Bauman, 88th Civil Engineering Division chief. “We do all the planning for the installation; project programing, which is not like computer programing, it is understand the cost requirements of a project and getting those positioned for funding from the appropriate program.”

Designing, managing the construction, and the documentation to keep track of all the projects and their location are also responsibilities of the division.

The mission of the engineering division is to provide agile strategic planning, project programming, design and construction management, energy management, and accurate geospatial recordation to support Wright-Patterson Air Force Base customers’ missions.

 Accurate geospatial recordation means ensuring that buildings and assets on maps match where they are in real life.

The division has two branches, Portfolio Optimization and Project Management.

 The Portfolio Optimization Branch focuses on strategic planning, project planning, requirements integration, energy management, and managing space on the installation. In contrast the Project Management Branch focuses on designs, construction management, and geospatial recordation.

 “The branches work together to complete the entire requirement life cycle to plan, program, design, construct and document facility and infrastructure improvements,” Bauman said.

The organization, which has been completely civilian since 2000, employs around 120 individuals, including engineers, architects, data analysts, surveyors, and inspectors, as well as contractors and interns. Their primary responsibility is to maintain the facilities on the installation, and manage new construction required to meet growing needs of the installation.

 The funds for the installation’s various projects come from a variety of sources, including the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center and several customers. However, it’s important to note that the funding for many projects must be evaluated and approved by Congress before they can proceed.

“We don’t really have our own budget, per se, but execution wise, it averages annually to approximately $170-190 million worth of projects that we execute,” Bauman said.

The engineering division uses the funds to focus on facilities sustainment, restoration, and modernization on the installation. When deciding which facilities receive FSRM investments, the Air Force and installation prioritize requirements based on condition and mission.

When a customer comes up with an idea or project, the Portfolio Optimization Branch figures out all the requirements and space for the project while the Project Management Branch designs it.

“We design it,” said Jason Bordas, Project Management chief. “The division itself takes a bright idea and makes it a building, we’re building new labs for R&D, we are building new secure conference rooms for all the acquisition of those new weapons systems, and we support the cradle of aviation with construction projects planning efforts, so we’re pretty important.”

One of the things with which the division connects with the communities is the airfield. 

“Our airfield has a four-county influence of its operational environment,” said Mike Tibbs, Installation Planning section chief. “Last year, 2022, CEN completed an AICUZ study, a very detailed study about our airfield, its influence on land compatibility inside and outside the fence.”

“AICUZ” Air Installation Compatible Use Zone, is a study that analyzes the operational noise, and the compatibility of the region with the flight zone, if the land is safe or if it represents a risk of accidents, among other things.

The division reviews about 30 zoning development around the base annually to verify their compatibility with the airfield environment.

Tibbs added that their goal is a safe operating environment for everyone.  

“We work with all the local planning zoning offices surrounding the base and the counties to be able to get their input on the study,” Tibbs said. “The study is really a goal to prevent encroachment to the mission and we also don’t want to encroach upon the community.”

Civil Engineering Division Future Projects

The Civil Engineering Division is planning to undertake several renovation projects on the base in the future. These projects include the Air Force Materiel Command headquarters renovation, modernizing the military housing in the Bricks, and the construction of two new Child Development Centers. These upgrades will help improve the overall quality of life for those living and working on the base.