By Karl Weisel
U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden
WIESBADEN, Germany — German and American officials broke ground for the next stage in transformation on Wiesbaden's Clay Kaserne June 28, 2012.
"Just two weeks ago we stood not far from here and dedicated the 'Shali Center,' the operations center that is fast becoming the centerpiece of U.S. Army Europe Headquarters," said Col. David Carstens, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander.
"Today we see the transformation of Wiesbaden continuing at this ground breaking for another key component of the U.S. Army Europe Headquarters move to Wiesbaden -- the Information Processing Center. Taking ownership of this incredible new facility will be the 5th Signal Command -- no stranger to Clay Kaserne and the Wiesbaden community."
Along with the IPC which "will serve as a consolidated modern Army network intelligence operations and security facility," Carstens said a new 210-space parking garage will also be built to serve those who work or visit the part of the installation near the new facility and Little Italy Restaurant and Catering Center.
"The (IPC) building will signify the largest consolidation of signal functions in decades," Carstens said. "It is the second of three major operational facilities being built here on Clay Kaserne and will pave the way for bringing the remaining Mannheim assets to Wiesbaden.
"When the dust clears and the transformation is completed here, the move of headquarters functions from Heidelberg, Mannheim and Darmstadt with their consolidation in Wiesbaden will save the American taxpayer $112 million a year," Carstens added.
Before officials broke ground on the new facility, Col. D. Peter Helmlinger, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, presented Col. Bruce Crawford, commander of the 5th Signal Command, with a golden shovel to symbolize the Corps' role in helping "deliver a first-class facility.
"The Corps of Engineers traditionally presents a ceremonial shovel as a memento to commemorate the time when dirt begins to fly and bricks and mortar stand," Helmlinger said, adding, "This is just a small token of our partnership."
Like the recently completed General John Shalikashvili Mission Command Center and Newman Village housing area on Clay Kaserne, the IPC will feature a wide-range of environmentally friendly sustainable design elements, he said. "It will capitalize on the use of natural light, thus minimizing the need for florescent lighting. It will also include low flow, water-saving plumbing, using 40 percent less water than a comparably sized building and saving more than 200,000 gallons of water annually."
Other eco-friendly features of 59,000-square-foot facility include a combined heat and power system which through energy maximization will save around $500,000 a year in annual energy savings, Helmlinger said.
"Reducing energy consumption and moving toward energy independence is a major goal of the Army, and we are working to build facilities that meet that goal," he said. "As a result of the IPC's green design elements, it is on track to earn the U.S. Green Building Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification. This is an internationally recognized environmental mark of excellence."
The facility, expected to be completed by October 2013, according to 5th Signal Command spokesman Kris Joseph, will consolidate and expand several key organizations -- 5th Signal Command's Theater Network Operations and Security Center, 5th Signal Command's Intelligence Office, the USAREUR Information Assurance Program Management Office and the Regional Computer Emergency Response Team Europe. It will include space for more than 200 work stations.
Both Helmlinger and Carstens thanked the U.S. military's German partners who helped make the project possible -- the Hessen Finance Ministry, Hessen Construction Management Agency and the contractors involved in all aspects of the building's construction.