RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
Randolph's only fighter training squadron is a few months away from moving into its new home on the east flightline.
Some members of the 435th Fighter Training Squadron joined engineers from Randolph and the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment at Brooks-City Base, CH2M Hill design team members and representatives of building contractor Innovative Technical Solutions Inc. in taking a look at the new facility on the south side of Hangar 6 during a walk-through Dec. 23.
The squadron, which is now housed in two portable buildings also on the east flightline, is awaiting the delivery of furniture before its expected March move-in date.
Nick Alino, AFCEE construction branch project manager, called the 435th FTS' new home a "modern, state-of-the-art flight training facility."
"It has a new, efficient HVAC system, automatic lighting which turns on and off based on movement sensors, energy-efficient windows and doors and a new roof on the rear operations and crew chief area," he said.
Mr. Alino said some of the other features of the two-story, 15,000-square-foot facility are red oak wainscoting, built-in red oak shelving, wood equipment lockers, Corian countertops, custom epoxy flooring with the 435th FTS seal imbedded in the break-room floor and a handicapped-accessible wheelchair lift.
He also said the structure maintains some of its historical significance.
"The Hangar 6 building is part of the Randolph Historic District, so the state Historic Preservation Office representative wanted several of the building pilasters - the original structural columns - to show through on the interior," Mr. Alino said. "In addition, several of the original structural cross-braces and window cranks show through or were left in place to show the historical significance of the building."
But he also said the 79-year-old hangar posed some challenges.
"During the current project we discovered above the ceiling many of the plumbing pipes were not marked or were abandoned, along with several mechanical and electrical components which were abandoned in place," Mr. Alino said. "All of these pipes, wires and mechanical components had to be traced to a possible source and removed to install new electrical and mechanical components."
In addition, asbestos materials in a former mechanical room and under the sub-floor in the server room had to be abated, he said.
Lt. Col. Bruce Smith, 435th FTS commander, said the facility will enhance the training provided by the squadron.
"The upstairs briefing facilities allow a quiet, secure learning environment," he said. "Also, there is significantly more space than our temporary facilities and the proximity to our aircraft will help us efficiently use training time to our advantage."
Colonel Smith commended the construction and design teams.
"The contractors did an incredible job turning our image of a squadron facility into reality," he said. "Our hard hats are off to the workmanship."
Colonel Smith said the members of his squadron who have seen the facility are "very impressed" with the finished product.
"The designers stayed true to our requested layout, making it very similar to a CAF fighter squadron," he said.
The 435th FTS was activated at Randolph in 1997 to provide training via the Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals course, which prepares pilots who have earned their wings in undergraduate pilot training for flight operations unique to fighter aircraft. The squadron was relocated to Moody Air Force Base, Ga., in October 2001, but was reassigned to Randolph in November 2006.