March Field air traffic control tower, base operations, receives 2015 USAF Design Award

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The new air traffic control tower has now become a familiar landmark on the horizon of March Field and the memories of the former tower have begun to fade. What you might not know is that March Air Reserve Base won the Merit Award for the Air Traffic Control Tower and Base Operations Facility in the U.S. Air Force 2015 Design Award Program.

This award, based on categories including sustainability, energy efficiency, and low-water-usage landscape, garnered national attention for the tower’s sustainable design.

The previous control tower, built in 1958, had exceeded its useful life, and was beginning to use up a large portion of the maintenance budget. Additionally, its seismic reinforcement was no longer up to current codes, according to Sean Feeley, deputy base civil engineer, 452nd Civil Engineer Squadron.

The new tower was designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver standard which is the system used by U.S. Green Building Council to rate projects. It will “allow the Air Force to operate sustainably for the next 50 years,” Feeley said.

One of the key players in getting the project off the ground was the late Chris Davis, former March ARB airfield manager. Davis supplied the architectural designers with the specific details and layout suggestions to meet air traffic control and base operations mission requirements.

Other team members included Jack Porter, Bill Smith, Brian Schrage, Brandon Talbot, 452 CES, as well as Christopher Noel and Brad Potter, 452nd Operations Support Squadron.

“It was a team win, (and) a rarity to win an Air Force award,” Feeley said. “It is quite an honor when there are thousands of projects but only a few are selected.”

According to an article written by Susan Scheuer, U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center public affairs, The U.S. Air Force Design Awards program, established in 1976 and managed by the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, recognizes and promotes design excellence across the Air Force.

The March award was presented by Mark Correll, deputy assistant secretary, Environment, Safety and Occupational Health, and accepted by Sean Feeley, deputy base civil engineer, 452nd Civil Engineer Squadron, and three other project representatives at a ceremony in San Antonio, Texas on Dec. 2, 2015. The other representatives included the architectural design company Jacobs, headquartered in Pasadena, California; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, based in Louisville, Kentucky; and Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters’ manager of military contract projects, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.