By Sarah McNair, Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center Public Affairs
/ Published October 22, 2021
In March 2019, flood waters covered more than 30% of Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. This aerial picture shows the installation’s base lake recreation area facilities after flood waters started to recede. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, recently awarded more than $16 million for the first two military construction contracts as a result of the damage. (Courtesy photo)
Airmen survey damage after flooding at a recreation center at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. in 2019. A season of heavy snowfall, combined with a late winter storm in the middle of March 2019, left roughly 30% of the installation flooded. (Courtesy photo)
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, recently awarded more than $16 million for the first two military construction contracts to Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., since the installation flooded in 2019.
A season of heavy snowfall, combined with a late winter storm in the middle of March, caused widespread flooding and left roughly 30% of the installation flooded.
“Although the flooding, which affected 30 percent of the installation, left us with some devastation, it also provided us the opportunity to rebuild as a more resilient and efficient base of the future,” said Don Fucik, Air Force Civil Engineer Center program manager for the Offutt AFB flood recovery.
Both MILCON projects serve to reconstruct Offutt AFB’s Lake Campus, which was divided into two projects – the Base Lake Recreation and Event Center and a softball complex.
“These projects support the Secretary of the Air Force’s efforts to prioritize Airmen and their families by providing them with recreational opportunities to promote their physical and mental well-being,” Fucik said.
The first contract awarded $12.6 million to Covenant Russell, Sept. 15, for construction of the recreation and event center, and maintenance and storage facility. The 10,120-square-foot facility will provide seating for 225 guests and a lake-view deck that accommodates 25-30 people. The center will also have office and storage space, restrooms, showers, a catering kitchen, laundry, dining area and a snack bar.
The separate, 2,900 square-foot maintenance and storage facility includes an office and single-stall bathroom. The project also includes recreational vehicle camping pad and service hookup replacement, playground and volleyball court replacement, road realignment, gravel road improvements, parking, a boat dock and lake bank stabilization.
The second contract awarded $4.1 million to Covenant Russell, Sept. 22, for the softball complex. This project will include a 2,585-square-foot facility with a ballfield management office, restrooms and storage space for maintenance equipment in addition to improvements to the existing ballfields.
“We are ecstatic to be the first project out of the hopper with the base flood rebuild,” said Thomas Fahrer, 55th Force Support Squadron deputy director. “The base lake has been a staple in our outdoor recreation program since the 1960s and losing the facilities to the flood was not only devastating to our customers, but also to our bottom line by accounting for about 15 percent of our pre-flood morale, welfare and recreation income.”
To increase resiliency against potential future flooding, these facilities will be raised above the 100-year flood elevation. Construction for these projects is expected to be complete in the spring of 2023.
The $693 million flood recovery at Offutt AFB will be a six-to-seven-year process consisting of 13 new MILCON projects across eight campuses.