A child development center, police station and large-scale 15-acre new gate entrance to the Defense Supply Center (DSCC), Columbus, Ohio are only a few of many Army Corps of Engineers Columbus field office construction projects undertaken on the 300-acre site. The projects serve Department of Defense service members and civilians.
The Center was originally constructed around 1919 and has seen many improvements, which are chronicled on the field office’s walls in old black and white photographs. During World War II, the Center was the largest military supply installation worldwide. Service members’ missions varied over the years with logistics and huge warehouses supporting the military. Even old, faded khaki-colored jeeps are stockpiled off to the side of newer buildings. The Whitehall area of Columbus sprung up around the Center. Soldiers’ quarters did exist on the Center at one time but are now across the street separated with a large security fence. Each one is a stamp of the other which citizens own.
The Corps built the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, two large, tall and imposing red marble-type buildings in the 1990s. The Corps Columbus field office is now renovating the entrance revolving doors to this building.
While the Corps field office has many maintenance duties on the large base—such as replacing interior lighting in buildings and an on-going contract for DFAS maintenance—their meat and potatoes have been erecting and updating commonly-used facilities. The Whitehall Armed Force Center for reservists and national guard members was built in 2008. A new public safety building now serves as headquarters for the campus police with a green roof, and the old police building was demolished. There is a new child care center.
"We have done a lot of work here and there on the base," said Charles Campbell, project engineer and current Collateral Duty Safety Officer. A staff of four work at the Columbus field office. They are Campbell; Brad Ryczko, engineering technician; Kevin Kunke, construction control representative; and Randy Randolph, construction control representative.
A current large-scale Corps’ construction project is the security and new gate entrance to the installation. As of March 2014, the project is 70 percent complete and work is occurring on different parts simultaneously. The big focus of the project is for state-of-the-art security measures. This activity is coordinated with the Omaha District Center of Expertise. Approximately 8,000 people come and go through security gates so the new gate entrance will be upgraded for total of five lanes with a larger check point and visitor center for in-processing right on the spot. What’s most interesting about the vehicle check point is the "under vehicle" security inspection system or UVIS. Because the lanes have not been laid over yet, one can now see many rows of tube-like circular units that will house the electrical and lights which will make inspecting the undercarriage of vehicles state-of-the art and modernized. This provides for enhanced public safety and security.
The new visitor center is going up quickly adjacent to the gate structure and checkpoint. Many moving parts are being executed, all under the watchful eye of safety officer Campbell and his workmates at the Columbus Project Office. Drywall is being hung, a roof nearly complete, break room, and processing bays for Common Access Cards and visitor IDs. The building is handicap accessible and built to withstand tornadoes. The gate house also has a structure to house communications and an electric system to power the units which are geothermal.
Providing for every possible security breach, the Corps is having the prime contractor Pinnacle, construct active vehicle barriers as part of the project. The active vehicle barriers would rise by DSCC police activating the system to prevent unauthorized access. A detention basin—already built—rounds out this project that will attract water fowl and enhance the environment.
Just a few more details that Tony Zimmerman, project manager and quality control manager, would like to contribute to illustrate the construction: more than 8,500 tons of asphalt base will ultimately be placed. Already, more than 4,700 tons have been placed. To support power, communication and security needs, the underground duct banks have a whopping 17 miles of conduit protected by 1,300 cubic yards of concrete.
"Our office has enjoyed the projects at DSCC and is appreciative of the opportunity to continue working on our ongoing projects," said Campbell.