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A great time to work at MacDill: Short-term disruptions provide long-term benefits

  • Published
  • By Bob Hughes
  • 6th Civil Engineer Squadron director
What a great time to work at MacDill Air Force Base. MacDill has had a long history of supporting our nation's defense, but has never been so instrumental in leading the fight as it is now. With that long history, comes facilities and infrastructure that are original construction from the early 1940s. We are working extremely hard at keeping these systems working, building for the current and future mission, replacing tired old pavement and utility systems, all at the same time. Hundreds of improvements are in progress or being accomplished every day, and that's just facility and infrastructure projects that are being worked at MacDill. There are several others in process improvement, coordination, and redistribution of workload that are intended to improve efficiencies, effectiveness, and just make life a little easier. I know you have seen many of these projects as they have progressed through the construction process. I am quite confident that you anxiously await the completion of many of them because they create short term inconveniences. Some projects are more challenging than others and some are longer than others, but they are only short term in the long range plan. 

I always enjoy when the construction fences comes down. The recent opening of the new clinic will provide an improved environment for both our service providers and customers. It will also significantly reduce the amount of traffic on Bayshore but will admittedly increase traffic on the north end of the base. The recent opening of our new security forces facility also provides additional and better suited space for our defenders. In addition, the new headquarters facility for the 927 ARW will open next to the 6 AMW wing headquarters building. This will provide additional administrative space, co-locate our wing leadership in a central area of MacDill, and only a short walk from each other. And very soon, the first occupants in our new housing will enter into leases that will ensure our development continues. 

The books for FY09 are closed now, but our project work will continue. The typical cycle of investment decisions holds facility and infrastructure work until the end of the fiscal year. All that means is that we will be starting newly funded projects in the next couple months. The good news is that the Air Force continues to invest in our recapitalization, but it will come with some more inconveniences. MacDill received funding to rebuild Hillsborough Loop Drive from Brown Pelican to Florida Keys Drive. You may have already seen work crews on site doing preliminary planning and locating underground utilities. Soon traffic will need to be rerouted for paving work to begin. I know that this will be a difficult period of construction for all of us, but the end result will definitely be an improvement. MacDill also received funding to replace one of our primary sewer lines along Bayshore. This will provide another long term benefit, but will require short term traffic disruptions. Other facilities will be renovated for new occupants and many buildings will get painted or receive new roofs. Soon you will see demolition crews working to remove the former security forces facility on Bayshore to expand the parking area with some much needed parking. The old clinic will be demolished in about one month and will increase our green space in our residential area. We will begin working plans that will incorporate that space to benefit the community that lives as a team on MacDill. 

We often refer to "Team MacDill." The saying typically is used to refer to our local representatives from all services and other nations that work here. It's a unique mix of active duty, reserve counterparts, civilian, and contract employees. When it comes to funding investments, awarding and executing, project work requires a much larger team effort. The team expands to include members from Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Headquarters Air Force, and all of us that work at MacDill through the disruption of growth and improvement. 

So, fiscal year 2010 will be more of the same; ribbon cutting at new facilities, congestion on our roads, construction vehicles at our gates, and parking challenges in key areas on base. 

Thanks for being a key participant on the team and working with us for the long term benefit and viability of MacDill. It's really a good time to work here.