Heavy Summer Construction at Kingsley Field

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jefferson Thompson
  • 173rd Fighter Wing

Kingsley Field is subject to four seasons, sometimes three when spring never decides to show up. So we count on three every year: fall, winter and construction season.

Because our winter weather can be quite cold, any concrete and paving work, or work on the outside of buildings needs to happen in the warm summer months. Over the last several years this warm weather rolls in along with trucks loaded with tools, contractors wearing hardhats, and loads of heavy equipment. 

This year is busier than last and several projects have already been completed. The latest is a renovation of the parachute shop where the very tall tower originally built for drying the F-4 Phantom drogue chutes was cut down in pieces to a single story using a large crane and a man-lift. This building will serve as office space for the 550th Fighter Squadron, the active duty Airmen detachment assigned to Kingsley Field.

“We are very, very busy this year,” said Pat Walsh, the 173rd Civil Engineers Project Manager, who coordinates all of these projects with the various contractors.

Evidence of this work is all over base. Crews are more than half-done with a waterline project, laying more than 3,200 feet of 12-inch line about 6 feet underground, and others are applying a new roof to the main hangar. One project to repair pavement around base is nearly complete and, naturally, another is set to begin shortly.

Additionally, one of the largest projects of the summer will break ground in two weeks with the first stages of the new fire station set to begin. This station will measure 17,000 square-feet, nearly doubling the size of the old firehouse. The station will be located just south of the current Fuels Maintenance facility in what is currently a grassy field.

Across the way from that project sits the large fuel storage tank which Senior Master Sgt. Eddie Gibson, 173rd Fighter Wing Fuels Superintendent, says is planned to come offline immediately after Sentry Eagle concludes in early August. Fuels troops will store incoming fuel in temporary tanks, and contractors will refurbish the large tank for the first time in approximately 30 years. Following that, the smaller of the two, large tanks will undergo the same refurbishment. Those projects will stretch into the fall while Gibson works with civil engineering to bring another more extensive project online to create an offload area for fuel just inside the south gate. That project is likely to break ground sometime in 2018.

Another highly visible project is an overhaul of the medical group space in the command building. A growing mission has put a premium on office space, and an underutilized locker room will be turned into a work space that promises to be both full and busy the second it’s available.

There are also projects to apply paint and new siding to buildings around base, to repair more pavement and the list continues.

As busy as this year is, Walsh says the fiscal year of 2019 promises to be busier yet.

Plans are in place to build a new corrosion control facility, more commonly known as the paint barn. That facility will measure 16,000 square-feet and will house all painting operations, a wash rack, and essentially anything have to do with corrosion control. Additionally, Walsh says plans are in design to replace the ramp with full-depth, reinforced concrete that will provide us with the greatest capability to handle F-15, 5th generation fighters, as well as a fully fueled C-17 aircraft. Civil Engineering is looking to coordinate that project with a full renovation of the Charlie barns located on the south ramp space.