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Spotlight on Southwestern Illinois: Engineering and Architecture

Quality Testing and Engineering, Inc., DISA-CONUS Facility, Scott AFB

By KATE GENO
    Quality Testing and Engineering, Inc. of O’Fallon, Ill., is leading the construction materials testing for the new Defense Information Systems Agency Continental U.S. (better known as DISA-CONUS) facility at Scott Air Force Base.
    The new 160,048-square-foot facility will replace the current facility and two other locations, to combine all 750 personnel under one roof. DISA-CONUS personnel will command, control and defend the Department of Defense’s information network from this location.
    River City Construction of Peoria is the general contractor working with the QTE team on the $65,994,000 project.
    “River City Construction has been great to work with,” says Michael Widman, president of QTE. “The company’s professionalism is above and beyond the norm. They have made a complicated process, on a very complicated site, flow much smoother.”
    Building on the site has been a challenge due to poor soil conditions. The ground consists of a soft, wet, high-plastic clay soil that is difficult to work with.
    “The design team had to work hard to make the site useable,” says Widman. “It was difficult to stay on schedule with the amount of issues that arose.”
    In the fall of 2013, grading took place to excavate the poor soil and replace it with new, suitable material. In addition, chemical stabilization was performed to improve the soil properties.
P08 widmanWidman    It is a large-scale construction project for such a poor soil site, according to Widman. To date, 822 augercast piles have been placed for the building to bear on. The construction team is currently pouring the footings and foundations. A team of up to three QTE engineers and technicians conducts the materials testing throughout the job to monitor materials used in the construction including the soil, piles, structural steel, concrete, masonry, fireproofing and asphalt.
    The building will feature a brick exterior with interior spaces for computer operations, servers, administrative work, and staging and testing. The facility will also include a conference room, mailroom, cafeteria, break rooms, a security office, visitors’ reception, and a fitness area.
    “Projects on Scott Air Force Base don’t seem to receive as much media coverage during construction,” says Widman, “but this is a particularly large job. The ability to work with River City, base personnel, and the Army Corps of Engineers, who were responsible for the design, has been a pleasure.”
    The ground-breaking ceremony for the facility took place in November 2013 and completion is targeted for the end of 2015.