USAFE/AFAFRICA re-opens after renovation

  • Published
  • By Capt. Christopher Higgins
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa engineer
In Early 2009, renovation began on the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Headquarters building at Ramstein Air Base, on what was the first phase of a two-phase construction project.

The facility was originally constructed in 1953, a mere ten years after WWII, and had received no substantial upgrades since it was initially put into service. The overall purpose of the renovation was not just to bring the facility up to present-day building codes and standards but to also mitigate any life, safety, or health issues.

The renovation also consolidates many of the dispersed HQ USAFE directorates from around Ramstein into the 166,000 square foot facility consisting of three wings. When the USAFE-AFAFRICA and 3rd Air Force staffs move into the renovated facility, they will return 53,700 square feet of office space to the 86th for reuse and 25,200 square feet of substandard facilities for demolition.

With office space at a premium on Ramstein this will reduce the need for any new construction, saving our taxpayers several million dollars.

The first phase of the work was the renovation of the 'C' wing, upgrading approximately 55,000 square feet of facility space formally used as the NATO Headquarters. The second phase renovated approximately 110,000 square feet upgrading the 'A' and 'B' wings. The 'B' wing will be home to the E-Street Café and Enlisted Heritage Museum, which preserves historical artifacts and memorabilia dating back to when the Air Force separated from the Army.

This is the keystone facility to the USAFE campus consolidation, a joint effort by USAFE-AFAFRICA and Ramstein. It has enabled the housing of 850 personnel in the headquarters building, increasing the facility population density by 34 percent and reducing the headquarters footprint by 78,900 square feet. This renovation also provides a comprehensive modernization of the facility to new construction standards including upgraded insulation of exterior walls, energy efficient windows and roof, and a state-of-the-art heating, ventilation and electrical systems which will decrease the energy expenditures by at least 20 percent across the life span of the building.

These upgrades mean the headquarters building is eligible, and has been submitted to the US Green Building Council, for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification. This certification represents that the facility excels in the areas of water and energy efficiency, indoor air quality and use of recycled materials. It also certifies that it had minimal impact on the surrounding ecosystems during its renovation. All of these features combined will assist USAFE in providing a right-sized, streamlined, consolidated, efficient and effective MAJCOM and AFFOR headquarters campus.

The grand opening of the facility, marked by the ribbon cutting ceremony on the March 24, 2014 will set the operational USAFE-AFAFRICA and 3AF footprint for the future.