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171st Base infrastructure modernizes

December 2008 -- Throughout the past year, the Civil Engineering Squadron dug deeply into three major construction projects on base. The renovation or new construction projects were valued at nearly $4 million. Topping the list of this year's projects was a new 3000-square-foot Combat Arms Training & Maintenance (CATM) building with a price tag of $750,000. "This is a one-stop-shop," said Civil Engineering Commander Lt. Col. Mike Christoff, "benefiting all unit members in addition to security forces personnel." Located adjacent to the existing firing range, the CATM will house the firearms training system, a classroom, weapon cleaning and storage facilities and latrines. "I believe we are the first ANG unit to have a stand alone CATM facility," said Christoff.
In addition to the new construction, an older facility received a much needed overhaul. Hangar 304, a fuel maintenance facility used by maintenance to repair fuel leaks, received a makeover. This $1.3 million project bundled a series of improvements to this 70's era hangar. The modifications included the remodeling of the existing office space, the construction of a new wheel and tire shop, the addition of new latrines and updated locker rooms, bay lighting and a gas-fire radiant system that will heat the building, and a new standing seam metal roof.
Crew chiefs working the flight line can look forward to less FOD on the west ramp, thanks to the $1.7 million aprons and taxiway replacement project. This project includes 25 miles of new joints in-between the concrete slabs, 55 full slab replacements, and in excess of 1,000 partial slab repairs. The 1950's era aircraft parking ramp was crumbling. "The concrete slabs were failing and had many full depth cracks and spalls," said Christoff. The much needed work restored the integrity of the ramp and prevented further deterioration due to freeze thaw cycles.
As for future projects, the original section of building 107 will undergo multiple improvements beginning spring 2009. Upgrades include a new roof, ATFP (anti-terrorism force protection) compliant windows, an updated heating ventilation and air conditioning unit with digital controls and new ceiling and lighting. The OPS desk will be reconfigured and the flight kitchen will be relocated.
Looking farther ahead, the electrical and communication infrastructure for the entire base will be moved underground, ridding the base of all telephone poles and decreasing the likelihood for storm damage. The 171st will also have a new garage to store large vehicles come 2010. A 6000-square-foot, multi-bay parking facility will be located near the alert facility.