by Senior Airman Sarah Hall-Kirchner
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
6/30/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Construction
of Building P-4 first began in September of 1940 as a 43-bed hospital
at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. With the onset of World War II, it
soon proved to be inadequate to meet the demands of the large number of
wounded transiting through Scott Field. More than 60 new frame buildings
were built to meet the demand, but P4 remained the base hospital until
the new hospital, the current clinic, was built in 1958. Additions were
made to the east and west wings five times between 1963 and 1978.
Building P-4 has been used as office space as well as the headquarters
for the 1405th Air Base Wing, the 23rd Air Force and, finally, the 18th
The P-4 complex needed renovations to bring it up to many safety codes
and the American's with Disabilities Act, and in 2011 a contract was
awarded to bring the building up to standards, according to Don
Peterson, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers resident engineer.
"It needed to become a world-class facility for the 18th Air Force
Headquarters," he said. "We maintained the historical appearance of the
building, consistent with guidance from the State Historic Preservation
A contract was awarded to design and the construct all of the required
renovations to P-4, part of which was to ensure the exterior portion of
the building maintained its historical appearance.
"All of the windows on the east side of the building were retained and
refinished," said Peterson. "All of the exterior brickwork was kept, to
maintain its historical aspect."
Working to maintain P-4s historical integrity and to also balance
bringing the building up to codes and standards was an opportunity that
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the 375th Civil Engineer Squadron, the
18th Air Force and all of the contractors involved embraced.
"It was an important project, and it was an important project to
complete," said Peterson. "It was an enjoyable project, through the
challenges and successes, we enjoyed it. The project brought us together
in order to cooperate and communicate."
Cheryl Majka, 375th CES chief of engineering, was in charge of all of
the contracted construction for the P-4 complex renovations. The 375th
CES programmed the work, obtained approval from the Secretary of the Air
Force for the project, and worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
to design and construct a total renovation of the historic facility.
Bringing the building up to code for seismic protections was the biggest
challenge because the plan had to be reworked several times to meet the
standards, said Majka.
"Seismic protection refers to additional structural bracing to reduce
the risk of damage from earthquakes," she explained. "Scott lies in a
major seismic zone due to the New Madrid fault line. There is a
potential for a major earthquake in the region, so buildings are now
built to reduce the impact of an earthquake and to protect the building
occupants by not collapsing."
Peterson reiterated that the seismic protections were a challenge during the renovations.
"The most time consuming and complex aspect of bringing the building up
to code was the seismic requirement," Peterson said. "Everything that we
do has to comply with codes, so everything in the building was brought
up to codes and ADA compliance, including the seismic codes."
Other codes that were met were the fire-safety code. The renovation
provides firewalls to prevent potential fires from spreading to the
other areas of the building. Stairwells provide much safer exits from
the facility than before.
Completed in late May, the building had it's official ribbon cutting
ceremony on June 29, 2015. Majka said that her favorite part of the
renovation is not inside the building at all.
"My favorite part of the project is the courtyard behind the building,"
she said. "It will provide a unique and pleasing outdoor space that will
add to the beauty and appeal of the historic district on Scott."
After more than three years of renovation, this historic structure is
now once again home to 18th Air Force, the operational arm of Air
Mobility Command, and the Air Force's largest numbered Air Force.