AFWA breaks ground on new building

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Randall Jennings
  • HQ Air Force Weather Agency Public Affairs
The Air Force Weather Agency marked the beginning of a new era for a new state-of -the-art headquarters building on Offutt AFB, Neb., during a ground-breaking ceremony, March 24. Col. John M. Lanicci, AFWA Commander, presided over the ceremony.

“The new building gives us a blank canvas to create the organization we have only envisioned to this point,” Colonel Lanicci said.

The new facility, with expected completion in the fall of 2007, will help transform AFWA’s capabilities and organization. It will have 188,000 square feet on three floors, plus an underground level. The plan includes a 257-seat auditorium to accommodate large gatherings with high-tech audio and video capabilities. The new building will house about 740 employees with room for 360 more.

Upon completion, and once the Agency has approval to occupy the building, the moving-in process is expected to take nearly four years. “This process ensures our warfighters receive continued and uninterrupted service,” he said. The Air Force has had a major weather center in the Martin Bomber Building since 1965.

“The Martin Bomber Building has served us well, it has been a home to Air Force weather for over 40 years and I am proud we have been a part of its rich history,” Colonel Lanicci said.

A new facility was required to meet the challenges of maintaining AFWA’s unique production, communication, environmental, and electrical systems needs. Within the current facility, AFWA has located personnel and equipment among the many nooks and crannies of Building D as missions were added and space was available. 

The new facility will allow the logical organization of AFWA missions within a modern infrastructure designed with the flexibility to provide weather products, training and technical services for present and future requirements. “The flexibility of the building’s design will allow the Agency to adapt to our ever-evolving mission,” Colonel Lanicci said.

The building design and specifications will also meet environmental and energy efficiency considerations to consume fewer resources. This includes reducing water consumption by 20 percent, improving environmental efficiency of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment, improving recycling capabilities, and enacting the latest energy efficiency practices to conserve electricity. The new AFWA complex will also house an expanded lobby and heritage center.

The request for building a new facility was submitted into the military construction process in 1995 and although the Air Force approved the project for fiscal year 2008, a Congressional insert moved the project up to fiscal year 2006.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers handled the bid and award process, and the Kiewit Building Group, Inc., was awarded the $27.1 million contract Feb. 16. “This will be a world-class facility for a world-class organization,” said Col. Lanicci.