Expeditionary to enduring, 379 ECES renovates AUAB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kylie Barrow
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

 As Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, transitions from an expeditionary to an enduring installation, base facilities and amenities also need to transition to support that enduring mission.

Currently, Al Udeid AB has had 124 total projects for fiscal year 2021 and currently has 95 active projects either in design or in construction, with projects and funding already projected out to fiscal year 2024.

The 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron has pioneered renovations around the installation to include the Blatchford-Preston Complex Gym, Double Stack dormitory bathrooms, new crosswalks, Special Operations Command Central’s parking lot, Northeast Ramp Pump House, and constructing bunkers and new lights across the installation.

One big project awarded at the end of the last fiscal year is a complete refresh of the BPC gym. These changes include updating and replacing flooring, ceilings, lighting, plumbing, HVAC and a new system for the pool. Additionally, there will be a new quality rubberized track with turf field inside and sports courts such as a tennis court, basketball court and volleyball court to make everything centralized and more modern. This project was first programmed in fiscal year 2020 and was awarded September of fiscal year 2020.

Another renovation that is currently underway is the replacing, installing and repairing of lights around the BPC and Coalition Compound side of the installation. The project installed more than 600 lights around the base in the last two months in dark areas to ensure the safety and security of the service members on base.

“Most people see dark areas and think ‘ok this is livable’, but it shouldn’t be like that,” said Senior Airman Drew Thomas, 379th ECES electrical systems journeyman. “Everyone should feel safe and that’s the reason we started this project.”

A foot candle is how bright a light is one foot away from its source. Previously, multiple lights around the installation were at .1 foot candles.

“Phase one of the project was to get the lights up on base to .5 foot candles, which is compliant with the Unified Facility Criteria standards for walkway surfaces,” said Thomas. “The goal for Phase two will be to get up to 1 or more foot candles, which is a very significant increase.”

Simultaneously, a total of 78 bunkers are being built across base. The previous bunkers were rapidly degrading, as well as the sandbags that hardened the shelters. This project is replacing the existing bunkers with more durable structures: new C-channels, hardened with hesco barriers, and covered with shotcrete to preserve them longer.

Al Udeid AB was the first base in the entire area of responsibility, across all service branches, to construct a complete bunker with doors. These bunkers are key to protecting base occupants against theater ballistic missile attacks and are one of the first steps toward establishing a robust Installation Hardening Plan.

When an idea or renovation is requested or started, most projects can take years to execute depending on the funding and resources available.

“We are constantly doing projects and renovating across the base,” said Captain Jenee Jagoda, 379th ECES deputy engineering flight commander. “In many cases, some of these were programmed years ago and we were just waiting for either funding to become available or the right opportunity to execute them.”

Once a requirement is identified, the project begins with the 379th ECES engineering flight, where they build the project, bring it to 35% level design if a design is required and create a work statement and cost estimate. Once packaged with all the information required, it gets sent to contracting where the project is vetted and awarded.

“We are doing great things to make the installation better, but sometimes the person with the idea will never see it come to fruition and the project won’t roll out until a couple rotations down the line,” said Jagoda. “We just want people to know that these things take time, but we as an installation are making great progress to move from expeditionary to enduring.”