By Thea Skinner
Staff writer, 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
The National Security Space Institute will relocate to Peterson Air Force Base, as design plans are emerging.
The institute, presently located at I-25 and Woodman Road in Colorado Springs, is growing along with its new mission. The move is prompted by mission expansion, and outgrowing the present facility. Out of approximately 1,600 students a year, about 25 percent of the institute’s students are stationed at Peterson. In 2008 the institute offered 77 courses to 1,581 students, of which about 827 were Air Force personnel.
The $19.9 million project is funded through the Military Construction Appropriation, known as MILCON for fiscal year 2010.
“Demand has grown for more courses to be taught,” said Maj. Timothy Jones, SETC Advanced Space Operations School Mission Support Flight chief. “We offer space continuing education, and advanced courses in space operations to a wide range of Department of Defense personnel. People come to us to complete the education portion of certification in order to become a credentialed space professional. We have three levels: basic, senior and command. They also come to us to hone their skills in other areas (advanced space operations and deployment).”
The relocation will improve facility security, provide a closer proximity to headquarters and other base facilities, offer a logical design, and enhance the learning environment with updated classrooms along with an upgraded library and a resource room.
Since the institute’s records are kept at Peterson, the relocation will also improve customer service and facilitate communication, he said.
The institute will be on base and be more secure in terms of antiterrorism and force protection, he said.
“We are designing the building to be more logically organized – our current facility has been an ad hoc approach,” Maj. Jones said.
The building construction adheres to Executive Order, known as EO, 14323, released in January, which calls for tracking green purchasing of sustainable building material and creating energy efficient buildings. As part of fulfilling the EO requirements, many buildings at Peterson are built with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, known as LEED, Silver rating.
“The Air Force has gone to a certified LEED Silver rating,” said Phil Chase, 21st CES project manager. “All of our designers now are looking at incorporating green products in our designs. Contractors research for items such as recycled carpet.”
Each item of such material produces points that create the Silver rating. The rating is the third-highest for high-performance sustainable buildings on the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Building Rating System.
The building will include more natural light with skylights, parking for fuel efficient vehicles, natural landscaping, a student resource area, and a library along with periodicals and books directly related to space operations. The building will also be equipped with bicycle racks outside and showers in all bathrooms.
Tentatively, designs are being finalized for the new location at Paine Street and Thule Street, across from McDonalds and the child development institute. Construction is estimated for completion around November 2011.