Building a new Vance – one project at a time

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Darin A. Gibbs
  • 71st Logistics Readiness Squadron commander
What's up with all this construction? There has never been this much construction at Vance since World War II. It's very exciting to see new buildings and facilities go up. It's totally a morale booster to be able to work in a new facility. 

I want to reflect on where we've come in the last year and a half, what current projects are happening now, and what projects we anticipate in the future. 

If you didn't visit the base pool last summer, you are in for a treat this year. Last summer we installed a new liner and it's like walking on pillows. Gone are the days of having raw feet after getting out of the pool. Get your season pass when it starts to warm up. 

We have two new gates which pushed the perimeter of the base out about half a mile. This project added to the security of our base by providing more standoff distance and traffic control measures. 

With this project came a new visitors center. The old gate was on Fox Drive, right next to Eisenhower Elementary School. Visitors had to pull off the street and dodge traffic coming in the old gate. 

A small guard shack served as both shelter for the guards and a visitor control center. It was very cramped and only had room for two guards and one customer. What a difference the new visitor control center makes for Vance visitors. 

Next we finished the new kennels for our outstanding Security Forces K-9 unit. They went from a very small and limited facility to a temperature-controlled, state of the art facility with office space for Security Forces personnel. The practice area for the dogs is now on the same property as the kennel. 

Finally, for all you golfers out there, have you checked out the new driving range? It was built as a result of Base Closure and Realignment Commission decisions and the new Armed Forces Reserve Center coming to Vance. Go out and hit a bucket of balls. The range includes a putting green and target greens to polish your fairway shot. 

That is just some of what we've seen in the past. What's happening now? 

Approaching Vance through the main gate you can see 30 new homes being built for company grade, field grade and senior officers. There is also a new community center. The homes will be completed in early summer. 

Another project underway is the repair and construction of the small arms range. With the new range design, Security Forces will be able to conduct small-team maneuvers training without the vertical posts being in the way. The new range will also serve our warriors getting ready to deploy with qualification and familiarization on the M-16, M-4 or M-9. 

Just recently, the 3rd Fighter Training Squadron moved into a brand new squadron facility. The offices, briefing rooms, and training areas are beautiful. 

Part of the goal within the Air Force and Air Education and Training Command is "reducing the footprint." What that means in the civil engineering world is the Air Force wants to minimize the infrastructure foot print. The smaller the footprint, the less money it takes to maintain an installation.

We have three demolition projects at Vance. We demolished the old dog kennel, and are working on South Fields Street and Sawyer Street. All three of these sites will be landscaped with grass. 

What's going to happen next? 

For our instructor and student pilots, more construction is planned for the flight line. Soon, the taxiways Echo and Golf will be repaired. In addition, the hammer head for runway 35L will be repaired. 

Finally, we are preparing to start building the new AFRC. It will be built on the old driving range across from mental health and aerospace physiology. These buildings will be occupied by an Army National Guard and Army Reserve unit. 

This will truly add to our joint mission. They will have an administration office building and a vehicle and equipment maintenance building. This project is expected to break ground in the late winter or early spring of 2009. 

There are truly some outstanding projects around this base that affect all of us either directly or indirectly. We have come a long way and the future looks very exciting for Vance.