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New Mexico Tech to build on Kirtland AFB

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFMCNS) -- The Air Force is set to convey more than eight acres of Kirtland Air Force Base land to New Mexico Tech's Institute of Mining and Technology during a ceremony Jan. 6 at 9 a.m.

The deal resulted from a unique agreement designed to stimulate business efficiencies and technological advancement through the construction of new facilities.

The land conveyance, a first for Air Force Materiel Command and the Air Force, is the result of an agreement called an Enhanced Use Lease. Under a provision of federal law, the EUL allows underutilized military properties to be leased to public and private entities. In this case, educational and research facilities will be built and operated.

The 377th Air Base Wing and the Air Force Research Laboratory will develop Kirtland Technology Park on 300 acres of land located on the west side of the base. The park can accommodate four million square feet of office space, laboratory and light industrial space for high-tech businesses employing up to 15,750 workers in support of AFRL and other Kirtland organizations.

"During these times when our nation faces continued financial challenges to fight the global war on terrorism, provide hurricane relief and satisfy the many programs our citizens rely on, we in the Air Force need to find ways to leverage underutilized land and facilities on our installations to provide much-needed facilities that can also be used by the private and public sector," said Gen. Bruce Carlson, AFMC commander.

General Carlson called the partnership a "ground-breaking achievement" that will benefit the Air Force and its partners.

According to Col. Rex Kiziah, the park will provide opportunities to bring the best minds from academia, industry and government. "This coalition will create a one-of-a-kind intellectual environment uncommon to the Air Force," said Colonel Kiziah, commander, Phillips Research Site, and materiel wing director, Space Vehicles Directorate, AFRL.

William Anderson, the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics added, "This partnership represents the first-of-its-kind entered into between the Air Force and private industry. The EUL maximizes the use of valuable federal property by invigorating the local job market and leveraging private sector dollars to fund operations, maintenance and construction costs at military installations."

The EUL with New Mexico Tech provides for co-location of government and academia in a facility constructed by the university, which will improve the research-to-acquisition cycle of new Air Force systems.

The New Mexico Tech Education/Research Facility is the first phase of four for the technology park. New Mexico Tech intends to erect a 20,000 - 100,000 square-foot building at a cost between $3 and $10 million to serve as an offshoot of its main campus in Socorro, N.M.

The complex will serve as a valuable resource for students and programs with the significant benefit of being adjacent to AFRL's Directed Energy and Space Vehicles Directorates.

"This Albuquerque branch will become a resource for New Mexico Tech programs and allow the students to be adjacent to AFRL, and closer to Sandia National Laboratory," said Dr. Daniel Lopez, New Mexico Tech president. "The project could be completed as early as summer 2008."

Fred Kuhn, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations signed the EUL Dec. 6.

"This endeavor will maximize the utility and value of Kirtland's real property," said Mr. Kuhn. "The EUL allows the Air Force to manage the installation's assets to achieve greater business efficiencies and promote technological advancement."

Dr. Bruce Simpson, who heads the 900-person Directed Energy Directorate, believes the EUL will create huge benefits.

"I am proud that we, as an organization, are a participant in activities that will improve scientific and educational opportunities for the Kirtland Air Force Base, the Air Force Research Laboratory, New Mexico Tech and the public in general," said Dr. Simpson. "This is an historic first step in a process that will deliver monumental rewards."

(Editors note: Michael P. Kleiman, Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate Public Affairs and Senior Airman Christopher Frost, 377th ABW Public Affairs contributed to this story)