Renovation near completion

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The day is drawing near when one group of employees of the 402nd Electronics Maintenance Group will get to enjoy a newly renovated workspace.

The $16.2 million renovation of the low-bay area of Bldg. 640, where some of the most high-tech work at Robins takes place, is about four months away from completion. The work began in August 2007 on what is the first and largest phase of a three-phase project.

Much progress has been made in work on the 40,000 square foot area, said Jonathan Davis, an industrial engineer in the 402nd EMXG.

"This is so much cleaner than it was before," said Mr. Davis while giving a tour of the area.

The largest aspect of the renovation is the replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. That was critically important for the area because the old HVAC system was in the ceiling and water frequently leaked out of the chilled water lines - a big problem with all the expensive avionics, electronics and sensitive test equipment in the building. The new system is on the roof, with only the duct work in the ceiling. Two large air handling units are on the ground on the sides of the building.

"It should be a lot easier to maintain," Mr. Davis said of the new HVAC system. "You are not going to have to go into the attic."

The system is also important because the equipment in the building requires an efficiently operating HVAC system to maintain a certain temperature and humidity year around.

The building is also getting a new roof, new lighting, a new communications system and new floor tile. Workers should find a more inviting atmosphere once they return to the space. The renovation is expected to be completed in March, said Kevin Shanahan, a lead engineer in the 402nd EMXG.

There was some discussion of going with new construction rather than renovation, but in the final analysis, it was decided that renovation would be more cost effective. While the work has been under way, some employees have moved to other areas of the building while other administrative employees have been working out of two temporary buildings outside of Bldg. 640.

The next two phases, expected to be completed by the end of 2010, will cover an additional 40,000 square feet. That will followed by more renovation; renovation is expected to take approximately 12 years to complete the entire building, which was constructed in the 1950s, Mr. Shanahan said.

"This is the first major push in a series of renovations," he said.