When faced with shredding carpets, duct taped areas and tripping hazards with lots of distinguished visitors dropping by, personnel at the Airman Leadership School (ALS) submitted a request for an unfunded project in order to fix the problem. Upon learning that the request had not been approved, leaders at the school sat down as a group and talked with their facility manager, Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Martin.
An electronic form 332 was submitted, they talked to a former Self-Help employee, and within three days, they had two rooms with newly installed carpet and baseboards.
ALS provided the labor with the help of 309th Maintenance Wing volunteers.
Depending on how you figure labor costs, at 12 people working nonstop for 12 hours for three days, you could guess they saved the base, approximately $33,000. The ALS group figures it could be less than that because professional laborers might have worked a bit faster, but their volunteers were pretty eager and very capable.
The first day the classrooms had to be removed of all desks and furniture. Then 75th Civil Engineer personnel helped out by ripping out the carpet and removing the baseboards in the two classrooms approved for the project. Any time you disturb a structure or foundation there is the potential risk of asbestos exposure so a survey is done prior to any self-help project by the Asbestos Shop to get a go-ahead or no-go.
To prepare for the job, ALS personnel and 309th MXW volunteers then had to scrape off all the bits of glue and left over bits of carpet on the floor. The project took a total of three days to complete with furniture being put back in the rooms the day it was carpeted.
"We had 12 people who came out and helped us, more than one day. Some folks only came out one day, some came out multiple days," said Master Sgt. Jessica Elias, ALS commandant.
She said the material costs came in at approximately $4,300.
The school had recently paid $2,300 to steam clean the carpet in the auditorium. Master Sgt. Sean Sambroak, ALS senior instructor, explained, "The carpet was to the point where it really needed professional help.
Tech. Sgt. Anthony Diamond, instructor in the Miller Flight classroom, had some of the most damaged carpet. "It looks good," said Diamond, as he reflected on the change.
The other classroom refurbished is the Solesbee Flight, sponsored by the 309th MXW.
"They really stepped up and helped complete the room," said Sambroak. "They came over and did an outstanding job on it -- all their people who came over."
Their early morning arrival and long hours working through lunch made the job a lot easier. Sambroak was especially appreciative of the volunteers who helped with the project.
The ALS plans to do another self-help project in August for the Weighted Airman Promotion System testing room. The project will go a bit further this time in that the project will involve painting the room in addition to new carpet.
Darren Bell, installation Self-Help director, said that the shop has many choices in colors of paint, five colors of carpet, chair rails, base boards and painting supplies, and all the tools for laying carpet squares and painting.
He explained that once someone talks to their facility manager and an electronic form 332 is submitted, each project is assigned a number. The Asbestos Shop reviews potential hazards and the project is either approved or disapproved for that hazardous risk. If asbestos is a risk, then it has to be completed by 75th Civil Engineer Squadron or contracted out.
Once a project is approved, then self-help personnel come out and measure the job for materials and to see what tools will be needed for the project so they can be checked out. Those inspections are conducted on Tuesdays and Thursdays when Self-Help is closed to patrons. The Self Help location in Building 830, Bay A, has business hours which are Mondays, Wednesdays and non-pay day Fridays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Self Help personnel can be reached at 801-777-1244.
Self-help projects can be one way to improve offices, break rooms or other areas on base, not to include military housing which has its own self-help shop. To reach military housing self-help personnel call 801-825-9392.
"We have carpet shampooers, so if they don't want to deal with carpet they can just come and use that," said Bell. Rakes and shovels are also available to be checked out if someone is interested in refurbishing the areas around the outside of base buildings.
"It's good resource management," said Elias of the savings in labor costs for the base. "It's under our 'Core Values' for resource excellence. It sets a professional image that we take pride in our facility and our organization."
In these times of tight budgets and the normal pace of approval rates required for civil engineer projects, it's one more tool that can help get the job done and faster, albeit with a little elbow-grease.