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Wyoming Air National Guard Facelift's coming to fruition

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- What comes to mind when you hear the word facelift? One of the possible definitions of facelift, according to Webster's Dictionary is "an alteration, restoration, or restyling intended especially to modernize." Whatever picture you paint in your head when you hear these words, one common theme runs among all associated terms: improvement. However, improvement does not always come easy and can take time, hard work and perseverance to achieve.

Improvement is exactly what the Wyoming Air National Guard (WyANG) had in mind in 1997 as they examined Building 16 and the state of disarray it was coming to. The building housed more than one-third of WyANG personnel, yet was one of the most outdated and unsafe buildings at the base. It was at that point, with safety and job satisfaction in mind, that the command staff at the WyANG came together with one dream in mind -- a complete building 16 renovation.

Command, along with many key personnel on base, spent months compiling a compelling package, which included a plethora of supporting documentation for submission to the National Guard Bureau (NGB) in hopes NGB would recognize the need for a Building 16 renovation and approve the funding for such a lofty project.

The submission package switched hands numerous times as it went back and forth between the WyANG and NGB during negotiations, and in 2008, once all demands and supporting evidence met NGB standards, the wing was given the green light to start the design process.

As a precursor of the design process, command staff established a design working group, which consisted of key personnel, both officer and enlisted, from each office that were to be housed in Building 16 when the remodel was complete.

"In 2008 the design approval was granted by NGB with an initial price tag of $25 million, which would prove to be the most expensive renovation project in the history of the Air National Guard," said Major Michael Pachel, 153rd base civil engineer.

In early 2012, the WyANG finally broke ground on the project which, when all is said and done, "will house over one-third of all WyANG personnel and provide 144,000 square feet of working space," said Pachel. As with any project, alterations, additions, and deviations of the original design have occurred, causing the price tag to rise to current balance of $28.5 million.

However, many people didn't realize that in the process of advocating for a Building 16 remodel, another project would come to fruition, making the WyANG stand out even more during times of fiscal uncertainty and unit cuts nationwide.

The Region 5 Regional Operations Security Center (ROSC) was stood up as a result of the Building 16 remodel process. According to Maj. Eric Green, commander of the 153rd communications flight, "the wing needed to find a place to locate the communications equipment that supports the mission of the ROSC and the wing while the Building 16 renovation was being completed. A temporary facility was an option but NGB programmers decided that there was a cost savings advantage to building a permanent structure to house the equipment as it would save the communications flight from moving the equipment back in Building 16 once it was completed."

The ROSC came with an attached price tag of approximately $1.9 million, which ended up being a cost saver for both the NGB and WyANG since the decision was made to construct the ROSC during the Building 16 renovation instead of adding additional space considerations to the Building 16 project. The program manager at NGB realized that the mission of the WyANG, as well as the location, made it an ideal candidate to receive a building dedicated solely as a ROSC.

"The Region 5 ROSC supports 15 Air National Guard wings and 25,000 customers across an eight state area, as well as the airlift mission of the WyANG. It is a modern data center that provides classified and unclassified communications, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," said Green.

"The construction of the ROSC began back in April and was completed in July. The facility has 3,800 square feet of space and will house three full time military personnel, two full time contractors, and one traditional guard member who will work to support the mission of the ROSC. The personnel and facility will provide a complement of services to include vulnerability management and other IT services for the 15 other wings that are supported by the ROSC," said Green.

Although the Building 16 and ROSC projects have caused a majority of WyANG personnel to be displaced from their permanent locations for a period of time, it is the belief of command that the resulting facilities will be worth the strain that accompanies the temporary displacement of the affected personnel.

The overarching goals of the Building 16 and ROSC projects are increased personnel satisfaction, safety and mission accomplishment while being fiscally responsible.

The facelift seen in numerous facilities at the WyANG is a welcome sight for sore eyes. Although a facelift never occurs without time, effort, and growing pains, it ends with a better product than what was originally present.

It is safe to say that the facelift has finally come to fruition at the WyANG, and when all is said and done in 2015, the WyANG will certainly be a better wing because of it.

Photos available at http://bit.ly/14uVZ5f

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Bldg 16: 1-12.jpg- The Wyoming Air National Guard Building 16 progress

ROSC 1-2.jpg-The Regional Operations Security Center at the Wyoming Air National Guard