By RITA DUCKWORTH
Woolpert’s latest project for the U.S. military is a new Guardian Angel Facility at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. The squadron is dedicated to lifesaving recovery missions during peacetime and war. Comprised of Combat Rescue Officers, Para-rescue Jumpers, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Specialists, they deploy to combat zones and provide aid to civilians at natural disaster sites. The facility will house operations, training and logistic support areas.
In a joint venture with RS&H, Woolpert’s Fairview Heights office is providing its full gamut of architecture, engineering and geospatial expertise to the project. Doug Brown, PE, PMP, LEED AP BD+C is the project director, and William Tongay, RA is the project architect and designer of record for the job.
“It’s in the final review stages,” says Tongay. “It should be out for bidding in the next month.”
“The building will serve a mix of functions for this reserve unit,” explains Brown. “It will have space for squadron leadership, administrative functions, and training, as well as storage for the team’s vast amount of equipment. Stretchers, parachutes, scuba gear, motorcycles, gators – when they deploy, everything goes with them.”
“This project has provided us with a unique design exercise,” says Brown. The design includes a 100-foot parachute drying tower and a 15-foot-deep aquatic simulator/training pool. “These features and the chance to learn about this squadron’s important mission make the job very interesting.”
Woolpert’s design matches the exterior motif of the other buildings on the base. In addition, all government buildings have design criteria that includes anti-terrorism protection. In regions such as hurricane-prone Florida, impact resistance is also a required feature. “We’re using insulated concrete form construction for the exterior walls. That, along with our window and door design will help us meet that criteria,” explains Tongay. “We’ve also incorporated dry floodproofing into the design. This provides extra protection for the building in the case of a hurricane or other weather event.”
The 63,600-square-foot structure should break ground this summer and will take approximately two years to complete.
By RITA DUCKWORTH