What started as a roof repair, ended up being a 360-degree renovation of the entire building. The new post office on Clay Kaserne is expected to open in March 2021 featuring 24-hour mailbox access.
“Bringing up the building to a state-of-the-art technical standard was pretty much my main goal,” said Klaus Hahn, chief of construction, Directorate of Public Works, with regard to the new roof, the exterior painting, the insulation, the new heating system, the ramp work and the new windows.
The new set up will use the entire first floor of the building for postal operations. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command office, which used to be in the same building, was
“We rearranged the floor plan,” said Judith Rodriguez Vera, DPW division chief engineering. “The floor plan reflects operation. Now you have clear zones. The building itself functions better.”
The new building will include a long conveyor belt that goes all the way across the hall and into the adjacent hall. It will make the lives of the workers easier, said Rodriguez.
A mail sorting machine is also expected to become part of the new post office.
“The sorting machine right now is pending,” said Derick Ferrer, postal operations supervisor. “That will make this facility probably state-of-the-art throughout Europe because of that and the conveyor belt system.”
The letter mail boxes in the new building will be accessible 24/7 with motion-sensor lights.
“You come in late at night, just got off work at 9 o’clock, and want to check your mail, you can come over here, the lights turn on automatically all over the place,” Ferrer said. “Not like before at the old post office where we closed the whole building down at 6 o’clock.”
The mailboxes are also new, but in the same style as the ones at the current post office.
“All customers are going to retain their current box numbers, but they will have a different combination,” Ferrer said.
The building will also be more energy-efficient. New windows and better insulation will bring down the heating cost. Within the next three to four years, photovoltaic cells will be attached to the roof to generate electricity via solar power. For now, this sub-project is in the design phase.
Security measures were also revamped.
“The fire suppression system has been redone,” said Chad Adamson, construction control representative with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District. “It’s upgraded.”
Physical security measures have been implemented such as a metal mesh above the ceiling to hinder people from obtaining unlawful access, Hahn said. There is also a mass notification system, and the exterior doors are secured.
“We also have what we call IDS, the intrusion detecting system,” Adamson said. These are sensors in the ceiling to detect movement.
Floors were also redone. Inside, the floor had been partially broken and uneven. The surface was transitioned to become even and will be covered with tiles that are made of a material, which is very sturdy, but also has some cushion, which makes it soft to walk on, Rodriguez said.
“People walk a lot,” she said. “This is important to them.”
The tiles will not be glued to the surface, but work like a puzzle. If a piece is damaged – even though it is scratch- and stain-resistant – it can be easily replaced, Hahn said.
The ramp outside was also redone with a new anti-skid surface, Adamson said.
“From a customer side, I like the fact that I can pick up the mail 24/7,” said Adamson, when asked what he likes best about the new post office. “I might not be able to pick up packages, but I can at least come in when the post office is closed and pick up any letter parcels. That’s what I like.”
Once finished the construction and renovation work at the post office building, a follow-up project is planned to renovate the parking lot and the sewer system next to the building. This will be a project for 2021.