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Building renovation to bring enhanced customer service

Madison, Wis. -- In less than 300 days, 115th Fighter Wing members will encounter a whole new experience as customers walking in the doors of building 500, which is undergoing the largest renovation since it was built in the 1980s.

For the first time, most of the base service providers, including the majority of Force Support Squadron, will be under one roof.

"From a customer standpoint, it will be kind of like one stop shopping since they'll be able to get all of their personnel and services all in one place," said Capt. Christina Hastings, 115th FSS director of personnel and building 500 planning team member.

A major feature of the new design is a central front desk that will have at a minimum a representative from services and personnel who will be the initial go-to resource for questions and needs related to those offices. The possibility exists for other offices in the building to have a rep at the front desk.

Next to the front desk will be computer kiosks for self-service needs, such as Virtual MPF updates. Therefore customers have the possibility to get hands-on help from the front desk representatives on questions related those self-service actions. These quick kinds of questions will be able to be confined to one area of the building and therefore improve the customer's time and flow of building traffic, said Captain Hastings.

"A lot of thought went in to make the front area user friendly while also keeping the offices of Equal Opportunity, Chaplain and Inspector General easily accessible," said the Captain.

The dining facility will also receive a major overhaul. The main portion changing is the serving area, which will include a new short order serving line and expanded salad bar, all near the main food area.

"Remodeling the dinning facility is about increasing efficiency as well," said Senior Master Sgt. Tom Cunningham, 115th FSS Readiness Support Systems noncommissioned officer in charge. He said that people will be able to get through the line quicker with two queuing lines and a hot order and short order food serving line.

From a cross-organizational perspective, both Captain Hastings and Sergeant Cunningham agree that all will benefit from the renovation.

"It's great that we're going to be co-located with some of the offices that we work the closest with such as finance and the medics," said Captain Hastings, "because really a lot of what we do is all the behind the scenes stuff, which has a pretty big impact on the customer's career."

From a checklist and organization and efficiency standpoint, she said that it's also going to be better for their internal operations.

"Sometimes the way we do business is just because it's the way we've always done it," said Captain Hastings. "But we have a really unique opportunity to combine offices and resources along with responsibilities based on how we would like the future of our squadron to be."

However, each organizational office is allowed only a specified footprint, which demands a certain amount of creativity from the end users, civil engineers and architects in designing the layout, said Maj. David Mack, 115th Civil Engineering Squadron assistant base civil engineer.

In the end, the users of building 500 will have the space they need without adding square footage to the existing building structure.

"What's really interesting is that part of why building 500 doesn't work anymore is because of a lot of mission changes, and we have to reconfigure our facilities to support the mission," said Major Mack. "That's our job, our main focus in engineering."

An additional challenge for those planning the layout was figuring out the phasing and what to incorporate in each one, especially since some people will be displaced during certain phases.

"You don't want to make it so inconvenient that it's unbearable even though it's only going to be a short time in the scheme of things," said Captain Hastings.

"We think we have a really great solution and we're really looking forward to when we can move in."

The project is in phase one of five and is projected to be done by November 2010.
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