Delayed maybe, but several MacDill projects still good to go
By Nick Stubbs
A national shortage of concrete, rising steel prices and pending environmental approvals from a busy Air Mobility Command have added up to some delays in planned MacDill construction projects, but everything on the drawing boards will become a reality, even if somewhat later than originally planned.
That is according to Michael Cooley, director of programs for the 6th Civil Engineer Squadron.
The two main construction delays include a new 3,000-square-foot veterinary clinic and a new building to house environmental equipment near the base kennels. The vet building project, which was scheduled to begin by now, will get under way within 60 to 90 days, said Mr. Cooley. The bid already has been awarded and once approval of environmental aspects of the building come down from AMC, work can begin. The storage building project has been funded but environmental approval was slow in coming, which means the bid will have to be updated.
Other projects delayed slightly include the Special Operations Command addition, on which work already has started; a boat house at Benjamin O. Davis Park, which will be going out to bid shortly; Phase V housing, which was delayed but now is under way; a new parking lot at Central Command for Coalition Village, on which work recently began; and a new 6th Communications Squadron cable storage warehouse, delayed some but now nearly finished.
A factor this year is that delays add cost, as the price of steel is rising and concrete has been in short supply, said Mr. Cooley. He sees delays on the drainage improvement project for Hangar Loop and area to be impacted, as while the bid was approved, the contractor is having trouble getting the concrete pipe needed for the job.
Mr. Cooley said most of the concrete we use comes from overseas and currently it is fetching top dollar in China to fuel big development there. While steel is pricey now, he expects that to change before the year is out.
The base did get some good news recently, when it was given what is called "straddle bid" authority, said Mr. Cooley. That means MacDill was allowed to seek bids on two projects prior to either being officially funded. It will be September before it is known if $14.8 million for drainage work to the north and south aprons and $1.8 million for electrical infrastructure and a new power substation on the north end of the base will be approved, but the fact the go-ahead was given to seek the bids is a good sign for approval, said Mr. Cooley.