By Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 05, 2014
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Many construction initiatives are being considered, prioritized and planned on Buckley Air Force Base to create a better community for service members and their families.
Various squadrons, agencies, base partners and committees are working diligently to fulfill the 460th Space Wing commander's B3T initiative: Building a Better Buckley Together.
"By striving to meet and exceed our mission requirements, we will build a better Buckley Air Force Base together," said Col. John Wagner, 460th SW commander, referencing his Wing Strategic Guidance plan.
The initiatives involve replacing, renovating, repurposing and updating facilities.
Mission Support Initiatives
A plan to move the large vehicle inspection point from the Mississippi Gate to the 6th Avenue Gate is being considered, in hopes of allowing a better flow of traffic entering and exiting the gates.
The City of Aurora is concerned with traffic outside of Mississippi Gate, and is offering $200,000 to assist with the move.
"We want to make sure the gates are open so you can get on and off base when you need to," said Col. Rose Jourdan, 460th Mission Support Group commander.
The 460th MSG is also working hard to replace the heating and ventilation units on top of The Exchange roof, and will be replacing the entire roof in the next few months. Buckets on The Exchange floors are currently often seen during rainstorms to catch water leaking through the roof. This initiative will eliminate that tripping and safety hazard for exchange patrons.
"Part of our mission is taking care of you and your families," Jourdan said. "This will make (The Exchange) a safer and much nicer place for everyone to shop."
Another project is to bring the base defense operation center, the base's focal point for security and defense, into the new 460th Security Forces Squadron building.
Currently, the BDOC system is located in a separate facility across the base.
"It's just not the ideal situation," said Michael Bock, 460th Civil Engineer Squadron project management element chief. "They're only occupying one room in an aging facility right now. It only makes sense to move the system over to the 460th Security Forces building."
Having the BDOC system transferred over to the current security forces building will allow all security forces members to work together, negating the separation they currently experience and increasing efficiency of their workflow.
The 460th MSG will also be adding new dorms onto the fire and emergency services building. Currently, there are not enough rooms for on-duty firefighters to sleep. As a temporary solution, a conference room has been made into a dorm for two additional people to sleep.
With $650,000 awarded toward the project, contractors will begin construction on the seven new dorms January 2015.
Along with new fire safety initiatives, all of the buildings on base will have updated fire alarm reporting systems. The update will standardize all the fire panels, providing consistency amongst all buildings on base.
The purpose of the fire reporting panels is to alert the fire department when smoke alarms are activated. Without them, occupants would be tasked with calling the fire department to report a fire while trying to evacuate the building.
"The panels are good for about 15-20 years, after that the software gets outdated," Bock said. "We're at the point now that it's time to replace them."
Operations Group Initiatives
The 460th Operations Group will be transferring to a new system called the Space-Based Infrared System Block 10 operational baseline. The Block 10 operational baseline processes data from the Defense Support Program satellites from a single operational control center.
According to the Col. Michael Jackson, 460th OG commander, multiple operations sites from around the state of Colorado will be consolidated at Buckley.
"This block 10 upgrade is like going from X-rays to MRI's," Jackson said. "We'll be able to detect smaller missiles, be able to report them faster and report them more accurately. We're getting ready for the future."
The 460th Space Communications Squadron has increased their communications tower efficiency by bringing it onto the base. Recently, they constructed a new communications tower to update the base's radio communications and increase communication range.
With the new tower, Buckley will now have a communication link with Peterson AFB, Colorado; F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming; Shriever AFB, Colorado; and Malmstrom AFB, Montana. This communication link is crucial for Air Force Space Command bases to be able to contact one another for mission cohesion and in case of an emergency.
Medical Group Initiatives
The 460th CES will also be renovating Bldg. 600, the current on-base medical building, to allow more space for medical services that are currently off base. The construction is part of a bigger project to move Buckley clinic operations from the VA Joint Venture Buckley Clinic on Colfax Avenue in Aurora onto the base.
The move will allow service members and their families to get the medical care closer to their on base homes and work centers. Currently, the Aurora medical location requires parking in a separate lot from the facility, and service members must take a shuttle to and from the clinic back to their cars. This can add up to half an hour on top of the appointment.
Moving a clinic onto base will reduce the commute to the clinic, allowing service members to quickly and efficiently attend medical appointments. An on-base location will also allow many of the clinic's medical technicians, providers and administrators, to shorten their commutes to work and reduce their travel times to on-base appointments, events and facilities.
"I know we are not the most convenient people to get to out on Colfax," said Col. Michael Kindt, 460th Medical Group commander. "I will be the first one to admit that having our primary medical clinic five and half miles off base, with no parking, is not a good way to support (Team Buckley). The Air Force surgeon general awarded an $8 million contract to renovate our clinic on base and put a dental clinic in there by the summer of 2016. We're going to make sure you get the services that you need on base."
All of these construction initiatives will ensure Team Buckley members will have a great place to live, work and play.
"I want to make this the best Air Force base we can possibly make it to support this most critical mission," Wagner said. "These actions will enable us to make the 460th SW the best place to live and work in the U.S. Air Force."