By Nick Gilbert
It is ironic that a massive four-story modern steel and concrete building is coming up near the dainty, unsafe, and safeguarded sea turtle nests that adorn the seashore at Florida.
green tarps draped across third level of Air Force Technical Applications Center under construction at Patrick Air Force Base
The new headquarters of the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) is being built at the Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. Hensel Phelps is the primary contractor. The labour force has been lugging heavy machinery, dirt, concrete and steel to the location since January.
The principal building spread over 276,000 sq. ft. will accommodate over 1000 personnel of AFTAC. Its construction has reached the phase where Hensel Phelps would rather pour concrete on the upper floors early in the day to circumvent the afternoon rain. To satisfy safety stipulations of working during pre-dawn hours, Hensel Phelps set up about thirty 75-watt temporary light fittings on site. This takes care of security at the site no doubt, but it poses a danger to the sea turtles that have made their homes on the Patrick Air Force Base (AFB) seaside. To deal with this problem and to abide by coastal construction regulations, Hensel Phelps wrapped the steel shafts that framed the new AFTAC structure with huge tarps. The tarps are thick enough to stop light from hitting the beach and also allow workers to reach their work areas.
As per the 45th Space Wing’s Environmental Flight, about 5% of Florida’s sea turtles are found around the Patrick AFB’s shoreline, which accommodates an average of 1000 nests annually. The organization has continuously endeavored to safeguard the sea turtles and their nests in the area. Executives at the AFB and the contactors are together working to safeguard the turtles and their nests from construction and other air force base operations.