Though it sounds like something you might need to find your way to the South Pole, an ICEMAP soon will become a tool for helping keep Vance Air Force Base free from encroachment.

Growing need

ICEMAP is an acronym for Installation Complex Encroachment Management Action Plan.

The Marstel-Day environmental consulting company based in Virginia is developing the ICEMAP in conjunction with Vance, as well as Air Education and Training Command headquarters.

“As we look at our mission set, and looking at growth in communities, it is what may impact our ability to do our mission, or what our mission may do to impact the community,” said Col. Darren James, commander of 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance. “As we look at being symbiotic to one another, it’s how we’re going to influence the growth of each other.

“Enid is looking to grow, and part of that is what will that potential impact be as far as our mission set goes.”

Enid and Vance already have plans in place to protect the land and airspace around the base, beginning with the Air Installation Compatible Use Zone study first prepared in March 2003. James also cited the work of Vance Development Authority and Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission.

“I think this city is very well-versed in coordinating with the Air Force before they make large decisions or large projects,” said James. “This analysis being done doesn’t particularly concern me. I don’t think it’s going to uncover anything that we don’t already have an understanding of between the community and the base.”

The ICEMAP study will include Kegelman Air Force Auxiliary Field near Jet.

The process involves interviews with community leaders as well as James and his staff, “so that they get the full picture,” he said.

ICEMAPs are being created at Vance and other Air Force bases as part of the Air Force Encroachment Management Program.

A potential area of concern, James said, is the development of wind farms in recent years.

“Where they are building them right now, we have already done that analysis, and we’re not seeing that there’s going to be any impact,” James said.

The ICEMAP is designed as a comprehensive plan that “will include a regional look, too, so it’s not just necessarily Vance alone.”

ICEMAPs also will be completed in 2014 for Altus AFB, as well as Sheppard AFB, Texas, James said.

“I don’t think we’re going to see anything that we’re not expecting,” he said. “I think the town is very sensitive to what might impact our mission, and that’s to both our benefit.”

The Vance ICEMAP is scheduled for completion in September.

“I think it is just something, as we look strategically at our existence for a long period of time, it’s something that can be continually referenced,” James said.

Towering need

One structure going up on base that is certain to enhance Vance’s mission is the new control tower.

The long-delayed tower project is expected to be completed later this year. The tower project originally was allotted $10.7 million through an insert by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., in the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act passed by Congress in 2009. The final cost is expected to be closer to $9.5 million, however.

The new tower will be taller than the present one, with the cab floor at 96 feet above ground level, as opposed to 63 feet. It also will be larger, 6,665 square feet as compared to the current tower’s 2,294.

The new tower will have an elevator, which created a delay in its construction. The facility’s elevator and stairwells had to be redesigned to be large enough to accommodate emergency personnel and a gurney.

“That is the biggest project we need to get completed on this base, and the expectation is it will continue to progress on time,” James said.

The tower’s cab soon will be glassed in, James said, which will facilitate completion, including the installation of advance air traffic control equipment.

“Right now they’re working on the glazing and the framing for those windows,” James said. “So they will continue to work on the roof portion, glass it in, and really once that’s done the facility will become dry. It will be sealed so they can start the finish work.

“When they have it glassed in, I think that’s the next big step, as far as making good progress towards the finished product.”

Future need

A $2 million project to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in Vance’s unaccompanied officer quarters is ongoing. The work is scheduled to be completed in August.

Future plans are to repair the base’s outside runway in fiscal year 2015, a year-long project estimated to cost $30 million.

“Right now we’re just looking for dollars as far as development of that plan,” James said.

The city is working to complete expansion of the main runway at Enid Woodring Regional Airport to 8,000 feet by the time Vance’s outside runway is shut down, which James said likely won’t occur until sometime in 2016. Lengthening the runway will allow T-38s to land and take off from Woodring. Currently the airport will accommodate only Vance’s T-1 and T-6 aircraft.

“That benefits us greatly, so we can fly all our aircraft in and out of Woodring,” James said.

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