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AF calls for 20 percent reduction of infrastructure footprint by 2020: Warren's goal - eight structures gone by June

F. E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Eight buildings on F. E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., are scheduled for demolition by June as part of an overall Air Force project to reduce the number of buildings, facilities and infrastructures in disrepair.

The 20 percent represents about 620,000 square feet on base that must go according to Rod Trees, 90th Civil Engineer Squadron programs flight chief.

After receiving $4 million in demolition money from Air Force Global Strike Command, F. E. Warren began the demolition process last December beginning with Building 985, used for equipment storage, and Building 2350, located at the old firing range.

The recent demolition of the water tower near the Pronghorn Center was the third of eight infrastructures to go.

Francesca Singhas, 90th CES general engineer and demolition lead, led the water tower's demolition and is in charge of writing the contract and providing a cost estimate to AFGSC. The contract includes requirements for the demolition and the contractor responsibilities.

"There are a lot of hoops to jump through before we are ready for demolition," Singhas said.

Once approved, she advertises for demolition contractors and provides the technical expertise throughout the project.

Along with supporting the project manager, Trees and many other helping organizations are involved to ensure a safe and successful demolition.

"The project includes everybody from our CE infrastructure folks and our operations section, the fire department, security forces, safety, contracting, the 90th Munitions Squadron folks, and of course the contractor," Trees said.

The other seven structures approved for demolition include: Building 945, a multi-use storage facility; Building 1200, an interim building; coal processing equipment in front of Building 660; the railroad spurs, an unused segment of the railroad behind Atlas housing and Dorm 839, which is currently being demolished.

If a building is in disrepair or if it is less expensive to demolish than repair it, then the building will be demolished in order to minimize the overall cost, Singhas said.

"When we see these types of infrastructures that have been sitting for a long time and they no longer have any use, it's just time to take them down," Trees said. "It makes it safer for everybody."

Significant safety precautions must be taken for these older buildings, particularly because many of them used asbestos in the construction process.

"Once you're exposed to asbestos, you can't get it out of your lungs," Singhas said. "That's why there are so many stringent rules about removing friable asbestos because you have to use certain respirators, you have to be in full Tyvex suits and you have to shower going in and shower coming out."

Up to one percent of non-friable asbestos is allowed in construction waste but no more; when asbestos is friable, it must be carefully taken out of buildings and is considered hazardous waste.

"Other bases typically demolish buildings after about 25 years because that is lifecycle you build to in the Air Force," Singhas said. "However, F. E. Warren is different because we have historical buildings and try not to take these down if possible."

Most of the buildings to be demolished in this round are storage facilities and will not be rebuilt because military contract monies are very limited, according to Singhas.

"In the next couple years, we plan to put together the next list of buildings to be demolished," Singhas added.