Desert lands will soon replace where Building 300, the old range control center, and two other buildings once stood as part of an Army Wide Facility Reduction Program Initiative. Facility Reduction Program Manager Dave Holly said they were initially looking at costs to reuse the buildings, but ultimately found that a renovation would not be cost effective.
Also being demolished are the building’s guard shack and the ZAR building near Launch Complex 38. The three buildings are scheduled to be demolished the last weeks of February. In total, over 100,000 sq. ft. will be removed as part of the project. Currently, the government contractor BHATE Environmental Construction is doing an asbestos abatement on Building 300. “The Army is the main proponent and the installation benefits,” Holly said. “Part of the benefit is that we are also reducing hazards from the range.”
The project is not only an effort to reduce potential hazards but also a way to help minimize the installations environmental footprint. Holly said the FRP became a priority several years back when there was a major push to reduce excess properties that were either unused or underused. Building 300 is the first scheduled to be demolished Feb. 19. After that, Holly said the entire project should take up to 45 working days to be completed.
The three buildings to be demolished hold a lot of history for several current and former employees. The old ZAR building was once the main hub for the Patriot Program. WSMR Chief of Staff Frank Chavez also has several memories of his days as Chief of Range Control at Building 300. He remembers certain details like the flap walk board and the fact that the introduction of the stand alone computer system occurred when he was there. He said he remembers picking up trash and asking his employees to pick up trash along the gates of the Building 300 when he served as Chief of Range Control because he was proud of his building.
“I couldn’t ask my guys to do something I wouldn’t do,” Chavez said.
Though the buildings have left their mark in WSMR history, their demolition could potentially make way for new buildings and possibly new memories for new employees. The demolition of almost 100,000 sq. ft. allows for the construction of that amount of space in the future, as part of a Freeze the Footprint federal policy. However, no current plans are in the works.
During the ongoing demolition Holly asks the workforce and community to use caution when traveling through the areas. Heavy trucks will be moving debris up and down Nike Road.