VICKSBURG, Miss.— Tucked away in a third-floor office suite in the headquarters building, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s Installation Support Division (ISD) is charged with making ERDC properties a better and more efficient place for all employees.
From updating street signs and roads to maintaining facilities across laboratories and field sites in 10 states, ISD is literally paving the way for the ERDC campus to grow and improve. Most recently in Vicksburg, the team championed the cause for a new Green Road sidewalk and upgraded tennis courts on station.
Since May 2018, when the new ERDC headquarters building opened in the center of the Vicksburg site, employees from across the 700-acre campus have flocked to it for meetings or a bite to eat. With many employees choosing to walk the half-mile between the Information Technology Laboratory (ITL) and headquarters, ISD saw the need for a new sidewalk on Green Road for both practicality and safety reasons.
A contract for the work was awarded in August 2019, and the walkway was completed earlier this summer.
“As a runner, I’ve really appreciated how much easier and safer it is for us,” said Megan Holland, a communications specialist in ITL. “As an ITL employee, the new pathway makes me feel more connected to the rest of the station, and it looks great to anyone driving to and from our lab.”
The sidewalk was the second project aimed at physically uniting ITL with the rest of the campus. In 2011, a new road was built, which connected the lab to Missouri Road, known today as ERDC Boulevard.
“Completing Green Road really enhances the interconnectivity of the campus,” said Jack Wheeldon, master planner at the ERDC. “It allows for future growth for our mission, while increasing the quality of life and safety.”
Another big project spearheaded by ISD this year was revamping the tennis courts on station near Gate 6. The work included resurfacing the asphalt to concrete, new nets and posts, upgraded fencing and a new wind screen featuring the ERDC logo.
“I am very excited about the courts, and so is the rest of the tennis gang,” said Dr. Victor Medina, a research engineer in the Environmental Laboratory and tennis enthusiast, who has been playing on station since he became an employee in 2003. “We have a group of tennis players who play regularly; it includes people from all the labs, the management group and even retired ERDC employees. We have been wanting this for a long time.”
Though their main office is located on the Vicksburg station, ISD still manages the development aspects of the ERDC’s other campuses, as well. In FY20, Area Development Plans were completed for the Construction Engineering Research Laboratory in Champaign, Illinois, and the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in Hanover, New Hampshire. Plans for the Geospatial Research Laboratory in Alexandria, Virginia and Vicksburg’s Information Technology Laboratory will be funded in FY21.
At CRREL, pavement and sidewalk design plans have also been updated, and portions of the upgrades are underway to make the roads smoother and more drivable, while sidewalk improvements will enhance pedestrian safety.