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Old commissary going green

Kevin Spala, Cape senior project manager, looks at some of the material including electrical boxes and light fixtures, which will be salvaged in the deconstruction of the former commissary, built in 1974, on Peterson Air Force Base. The demolition project is expected to begin Jan. 10 and be complete by mid-April. Crews will set up a staging area to the north of the building, at the corner of Otis Street and Stewart Avenue. The project will not affect visitors to the housing office, Building 1425. (U.S. Air Force photo/Monica Mendoza)

Kevin Spala, Cape senior project manager, looks at some of the material including electrical boxes and light fixtures, which will be salvaged in the deconstruction of the former commissary, built in 1974, on Peterson Air Force Base. The demolition project is expected to begin Jan. 10 and be complete by mid-April. Crews will set up a staging area to the north of the building, at the corner of Otis Street and Stewart Avenue. The project will not affect visitors to the housing office, Building 1425. (U.S. Air Force photo/Monica Mendoza)

by Monica Mendoza

21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The former commissary building on Peterson Air Force Base is about to be “deconstructed.”

Project engineers said to think of it as construction in reverse as crews methodically dismantle the 90,000 square-foot building on the corner of Otis Street and Stewart Avenue.

Deconstruction is the “green” approach to tearing down old buildings. The idea is to pull apart the building, preserving at least 50 percent of the material to be re-used and recycled and to minimize the amount of material taken to landfills. It’s different from the old way of demolition when a wrecking ball whacked the building and all of the material was hauled to a dump site.

“We will go through the entire building and look for salvageable materials – those will be light fixtures, electrical boxes, chairs, furniture – anything that has salvageable value,” said Kevin Spala, senior project manager with Cape, a California company heading up the $640,000 demolition project.

Crews mobilized Jan. 10 for the project, which is expected to be complete by mid-April. First the crew will remove hazardous material, including asbestos, which is expected to take two weeks. Then, the crew will make three piles: material that can be re-used; material that can be recycled, such as pipe and wire; and material to deliver to waste management.

Deconstruction is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design directive, said Russell Henderer, Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment project engineer out of San Antonio, Texas. AFCEE has a three-person team in Colorado Springs to oversee Air Force projects at all area bases. Mr. Henderer will oversee the commissary demolition project to ensure it follows the LEED goals of preserving building material.

LEED is an international green building certification system that encourages the practice of creating structures and using environmentally responsible processes, including the deconstruction of buildings.

“It’s being a good steward of what we have for the environment,” Mr. Henderer said.

The former commissary building, built in 1974, was old and the roof leaked – even resulting in areas of the warehouse flooding at times, said Fred Brooks, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron civil engineer. In 2007, the Defense Commissary Agency opened its new commissary next to the Peterson AFB east gate.

The demolition of the old commissary building is the first step toward the development of an office/retail and mixed use area that is still being planned. The old base exchange, Building 1425 where the current housing office is located, also will be torn down, Mr. Brooks said. A date has not been set for that demolition project.

“The most challenging part of the logistics of it all is making certain that we minimize impact to the base operations as a whole,” Mr. Spala said. “And ensuring that the health and safety of the workers and the general public are in no way impeded.”

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