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NEWS | Jan. 23, 2017

DCMA’s El Paso office moves into the 21st century

By DCMA Albuquerque

FORT BLISS, Texas, Jan. 23, 2017 — Defense Contract Management Agency employees here made a big move in October, relocating from historic horse stables to a modern, recently-renovated building on the base.

The El Paso team at Fort Bliss is part of the DCMA Albuquerque office, and since 1997 had been working out of a building originally designed to house up to 112 horses or mules of the 1st Cavalry Division.

Their new office, which was previously occupied by Fort Bliss’ Safety Office, is furnished with new, stylish ergonomic office furniture and modern amenities. The facility is also energy efficient and harnesses the power of the sun to supply part of its electrical needs, which supports the agency’s Strategic Plan Initiative 4.2.4 – Develop/Deploy Energy and Environmental Program - promote and adopt green (facility, energy, and environmental) practices.

The El Paso team’s old office, Building 620, is commonly called the “Horse Stables” because of its unique history. According to Fort Bliss historical documents the building was constructed in 1934 with funding through President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal program. In December 1942, when the 1st Cavalry Division transitioned into a mechanized unit, the stables were converted from holding livestock to an automatic weapons shop. In the late 1950s, the Army Air Defense School converted it into a guided missile shop, and in the mid-1960s, the stables were again renovated for use as an administrative building. Finally, in 1997, the Defense Logistic Agency’s Defense Contract Management Command, now DCMA, took administrative control of the building.

Conditions in the old Horse Stables created several workspace challenges. “The sheetrock was cracked and one could stand inside and look through the cracks to the outside,” said James D. Avant, El Paso’s property administer. “There was no drinking fountain in the building. There was no breakroom in order to get away from your work area for lunch.”

Maybe worst of all, the restrooms were shared by outside personnel, and had a tendency to develop a terrible odor during work hours. Because of the historic significance of the building, however, any improvements or modifications required approval from the local historical society, adding to the challenges.

In 2014, DCMA’s Facility Support Center enlisted the expertise of the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an interior renovation of the Horse Stables. After the renovation was complete in the summer of 2016, an examination of the building by Ed Spence, DCMA Facilities Service Center director; Keith Chapman, DCMA Facilities project manager; and Fort Bliss structural engineers, revealed structural flaws that could not be repaired in a timely or economical manner. This ultimately led to DCMA Albuquerque leadership working with the Fort Bliss Department of Public Works to assign new on-base office space for the El Paso team.

“As soon as we all agreed that Building 620 was no longer safe for our El Paso teammates to occupy, agency headquarters, Western Region, DCMA Phoenix, Fort Bliss DPW and my streamlined office came together to quickly resolve the problem,” said Army Lt. Col. John Pires, DCMA Albuquerque commander. “Although it was disappointing that we could not move back into the Horse Stables, in hindsight, it was a blessing in disguise because the new facility is a better space for our people.”

The new office space was completely renovated less than two years ago. Windows, doors and restrooms were all updated to current building standards, providing a safer, more secure and professional environment. “I look forward to coming to work knowing that the building does not have the issues that we experienced in Building 620,” said Keith Duncan, quality assurance supervisor.

Photovoltaic panels grace the roof, providing nearly 1,300 kWh a month — approximately half of the electricity needed to power DCMA Albuquerque - El Paso’s operations. “Coming to work now is like playing a ball game on a nice sunny day, as opposed to playing one on a muggy overcast day,” said Homero Ramos, DCMA Albuquerque - El Paso contracts administrator. “It makes for a more professional atmosphere.”

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Defense Contract Management Agency
Attn:  DCMA - DCC Office of Strategic Communication
3901 A Avenue Building 10500 Fort Lee, VA 23801 

Media Relations:  804-873-8011
Email: dcma.lee.hq.mbx.DCMA-Public-Affairs@mail.mil
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