156th Wing unveils newly renovated medical group and dining facility

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Brandon Patterson
  • 156th Wing/Public Affairs

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held March 13, 2020 to mark the completion of a major renovation to the General Roberto R. Vargas building, Muñiz Air National Guard Base, Carolina, Puerto Rico. 

This is the home of the 156th Medical Group, 156th Force Support Squadron Dining Facility, Wing Resiliency Center (Director of  Psychological Health, Chaplain and Family Readiness Center) and Honor Guard offices. Since Hurricane Maria, many of these offices have been displaced, but now have a new and improved home. 

The building was originally built in 1965 and was added onto in 1978, however,  prior to this renovation, it had not been significantly updated since it was built. The total square footage of the building is 20,896 sq. ft. According to Lt. Col. Elemaniel Pagan, a civil engineer with the 156th Civil Engineer Squadron, “the major changes to the building is that it is a Low Energy Electron Diffraction (LEED) certified facility and has a nine kilowat solar panel array on the roof,  occupancy sensors and efficient and energy saving fixtures.”

The multi-year project was awarded the renovation contract in May 2018. The total cost of the renovation was 5.8 million dollars with a replacement value of $11,188,113.

Pagan said, “the building now has a new and more efficient interior distribution of the areas, a more efficient dining area, as well as multipurpose rooms that can be turned into 3 different training areas. The building will have the capacity to connect a power generator for the entire faculty with a new transfer switch that will be installed during this month. Additionally, the new distribution in the medical area, provides for expedited service and separate waiting areas for the different services.”

This is the first military construction project awarded to the 156th Airlift Wing since 2002. However, there are several other projects in sight, and more than $48.5 million dollars has been awarded for these future projects. 

“This is a truly historic day for the Puerto Rico Air National Guard and more specifically for the 156th Wing, said Col. Peter M. Boone, the 156th Wing commander. “This facility will greatly improve the quality of life for our Airmen and has become the benchmark for future projects. The Airmen who will inhabit this facility will use it to organize, train, equip and feed our airmen, thus enabling them to focus on mission readiness and achieving success.  Success comes from work ethic. Success comes from passion. Success comes from leadership, trust and accountability. Hard work, vision, drive and leadership. This is what success looks like.”