Flood rebuild efforts begin in earnest

  • Published
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

More than 2,500 contractor jobs are expected to be available over the next few years as work begins in earnest to rebuild portions of the installation damaged by the historic flood of 2019.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Air Force Civil Engineering Center are the lead government organizations managing the overall construction activities and associated contracts.

“AFCEC is glad to be at the forefront of designing and building the next generation of Air Force facilities at Offutt Air Force Base,” said Don Fucik, AFCEC forward project manager. “It is a tremendous opportunity to take the devastating effect of the flood and turn it into a positive outcome, creating the model for the Air Force base of the future right here at Offutt.”

Three years ago, the 55th Wing stood up the Flood Recovery Program Management Office in response to the natural disaster that ruined one-third of the installation. Since then they’ve worked with the USACE and AFCEC and coordinated with all of the wing’s mission partners to ensure the rebuilding efforts not only meet everyone’s current needs, but also look to the future.

The Air Force began awarding contracts in September 2021, and the project is scheduled for completion around 2027.

“We are essentially taking 24 separate facilities and consolidating them into eight campuses that will enable the wing and its mission partners to collaborate like never before,” said Maj. Eric Armstrong, 55th Wing Flood Recovery PMO acting director.

For example, our Operations Campus brings together units that were previously in 16 locations across the base into one consolidated facility to train, fly missions and produce national level intelligence reports,” he continued. “This campus design embodies what the Air Force envisions and ensures our Airmen will have all the latest tools to assess information from multiple sources and provide combatant commanders intelligence for decision making around the world.”

Prior to any rebuilding efforts, construction crews will deliver an estimated 1.1 million cubic yards of soil to the Southeastern portion of the base. That will raise all workspaces well above the 100-year flood level.

“Additionally, the Missouri River and Papio Creek levees around the base have been raised, widened and strengthened by the USACE and the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources Districts,” Armstrong said. “Combined, these significant improvements will protect the base from any future flooding.”

In the end, these new campuses will support more than 3,200 Team Offutt personnel. They will allow the base to leverage shared flexible spaces like never before, which will save costs in transportation, heating and cooling, as well as maintenance costs from the aging buildings that were previously located in the flooded area.

“It’s been a long and arduous journey to get here, but we are no longer looking back,” said Col. Kristen Thompson, 55th Wing commander. “We are laser focused on the future and what these state-of-the-art facilities will provide to the Fightin’ Fifty-Fifth and our mission partners.”