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AFCEC projects open gate to enhanced security

  • Published
  • By Jennifer Schneider
  • AFCEC Public Affairs
An Air Force installation is only as secure as its entry point. Engineers at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center keep this thought in the forefront when managing the design and construction of all new entry control and inspection facilities, including their latest Colorado project: construction of a new, large vehicle inspection station, or LVIS, at the U.S. Air Force Academy's south gate.

"This project is critically important to the mission at the USAFA," said Keith Butala, USAFA deputy base civil engineer. "Once complete, this facility, which meets all (Unified Facilities Criteria) requirements, will provide the installation the ability to conduct vehicle inspections 24/7."

When construction of the project wraps up in November, security forces at USAFA will have access to a new state-of-the art inspection facility.

"The new LVIS will be equipped with the latest radiation-detection, closed-circuit television and other enhanced inspection technology that will increase the number of vehicles inspected at a given time, speeding up the process tremendously," said Robert Dixon, AFCEC USAFA project manager.

The project features climate-controlled, indoor vehicle inspection bays, which offers refuge for the security force inspectors during Colorado winters.

"The completely contained facility eliminates the current vulnerability of a vehicle search being viewed by the public, but most importantly, a person watching operations who may have a negative intention," Butala said. "The capability to screen personnel prior to entry, while safely searching a vehicle, greatly enhances the protection of personnel and assets. We will now be able to safely separate drivers and passengers from their vehicles and process them for installation access passes with less concern for the security of the vehicle inspection crew or pass issuance crew."

The inspection bays also include bullet-resistant wall assemblies between the inspection area and the waiting area for vehicle operators, Dixon said.

The new entry facility also includes facilities for its non-human inhabitants and incorporates a climate-controlled canine area for military working dogs.

The $6.4 million USAFA facility is very similar in features and function to the recently completed $5.9 million entry control facility at Peterson AFB, Colo., which was also managed by AFCEC. Dixon and Bob Barrish, the AFCEC project manager for Peterson, were able to share their project experiences to the benefit of both projects.

While the two projects share many of the same features, they differ in architectural style. Each was designed to complement the architectural style of the surrounding facilities at its respective installation. The design criteria for the Academy are particularly strict, Dixon said.

"The project (at the USAFA) had stringent design requirements," Dixon said. "The USAF Academy as a whole is listed as a historic site on the National Register. It was necessary for us to match the existing international style so that the historical character of the installation would be maintained."

Both entry control facilities will be candidates for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, silver ratings. The certification is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council to facilities that are designed and constructed with sustainable features. Environmentally friendly elements at the facilities include enhanced heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, passive solar design, geothermal heat pumps, sustainable site development and xeriscaping, and water conservation features.
While the USAFA facility has faced minor obstacles during construction, the Peterson facility was given a hurdle to overcome at the onset.

"One of our biggest challenges resulted from the fact that the entry facility is located at the end of a runway," Barrish said. "After the project was awarded, the Federal Aviation Administration changed the glide path zones and we had to lower the entire site by four feet, adding about three months to the construction timeline."

Open communication among all members of the team has been crucial in these projects.

"They (the design and construction team at the USAFA) have been outstanding to work with," Butala said. "They have kept the user involved through weekly meetings and have handled every concern and issue with expediency and professionalism."