By Erinn Callahan | 21st Space Wing Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Lt. Col. Landon Phillips, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron commander, believes an updated lease with the Colorado Springs Municipal Airport is the first step of many positive changes at Peterson Air Force Base.
The lease, completed in November 2018, frees up 278 acres for additional development on Peterson Air Force Base, Phillips said. “That’s an increase of nearly 20 percent of our installation’s footprint and fulfills the works of several wing leaders before me.”
“It’s taken a lot of effort, and the great leaders at the Colorado Springs Airport and the city of Colorado Springs have been just as involved as we have,” Phillips said. “We met with the mayor’s office over the past several years, and they’re just as pleased with this achievement as we are.”
Most of the land is concentrated east of the current command complex, near the north gate. The land is within the flight path of the airport’s runway and has above-grade construction restrictions, Phillips said. However there are elements we can construct and relocate from areas on Peterson AFB that meet this restrictive criteria – enabling Peterson AFB to construct facilities and processes on those relocated grounds.
“This is a huge deal for us because we were really restricted with the available land we had for development on base,” Phillips said. “We’ve always had a plan for new expansion and new facilities, but the additional land has taken that plan to the next level and really increased the potential of what we could do.”
With much of the base already programmed for new and existing development, innovative possibilities include moving existing command area parking lots, installation ball fields, 21st Force Support Center RV and vehicle storage areas, and other appropriate developments onto the new land create new development possibilities within the interior of the base – that meet efficient development criteria, he said.
“It moves our current ball fields away from a major traffic area and closer to housing, which is fantastic for folks who live on base,” Phillips said. “By moving the parking over, it’ll free up 23 acres of existing parking to build three or four more headquarters facilities for new missions at the Department of Defense discretion, and deemed in the best interest of the military.”
Any new mission of a considerable size will require a lot of support, such as child care, dorms, dining, fitness, and support facilities, Phillips said.
“It’s not just a new mission – it’s all those other kinds of things we’ve got to do outside of military construction work to make sure our Total Force Airmen are taken care of,” he said. “As far as who is coming here in the future, those decisions are made by the DOD – but to do our job professionally, we’ve got to be able to maintain installation vitality and to be mission ready for any operation vital to our national defense.”
The Colorado Springs area is poised for exponential growth in the next few years regardless of specific mission growth, Philips said. The updated lease agreement will help ensure Peterson AFB keeps pace with that progress, he said.
“Should we be selected to bed down new missions here, it’ll be a great thing for Peterson for sure,” Phillips said. “But even without them, we’re still growing. There is a lot of interest in space missions right now, and Peterson is benefitting from that.”