Offutt flood reconstruction starts with base lake project

  • Published
  • By Charles J. Haymond, 55th Wing Public Affairs

The process of rebuilding the operational and recreational facilities in the southeastern portion of the installation lost in the 2019 flood is set to start with the award of a $16.8 million contract for the Base Lake Campus.

The Base Lake was one of 137 facilities lost when more than 720 million gallons of floodwater toppled the levees to the south of the base.

“This is the first step in a long journey to rebuild what was lost here,” said Col. Kristen Thompson, 55th Wing commander. “When this is complete, our installation will be the blueprint used for all future base designs. We are excited to get started.”

The overall base rebuilding project will organize the installation into eight campuses, replacing 30 buildings lost to the flooding and grouping facilities and similar organizations.

“The old layout spread agencies throughout the base,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Dashiell, 55th Wing Flood Rebuild Program Management Office. “Although losing all that infrastructure was devastating, it allows us the opportunity to consolidate comparable functions into campuses which will maximize synergy and maintain mission efficiency down the road.”

The Base Lake Campus is the first campus awarded and consists of two separate projects. One is the main Base Lake area and the second is the base softball complex. The Base Lake includes a consolidated recreation event center as well as a maintenance and storage facility, while the softball complex includes a support facility and improvements to the existing ball fields. 

“We are ecstatic to be the first project out of the hopper with the base flood rebuild,” said Thomas Fahrer, 55th Force Support Squadron deputy director. “The Base Lake has been a staple in our outdoor recreation program since the 1960s and losing the facilities to the flood was devastating not only to our customers, but to our bottom line, accounting for about 15% of pre-flood MWR income.” 

Along with the new facilities, this project renovates the family camping area and over 20 recreational vehicle spots destroyed by the flood.

“When these projects are finished, we will be in position to face challenges that may come to us and we will be able to capitalize on opportunities that will not only come our way, but learn to make improvements that will be beneficial to the Air Force,” Thompson said.