Built in the 1930s, Bldg. 100 was once the Army Air Corps barracks. Now, it houses customer services, such as military personnel. No matter what its function though, it will always be affectionately known as ... The castle

  • Published
  • By Capt. Suzanne Ovel
  • 62nd Airlift Wing public Affairs
It's not everyday that you can go more than a mile in just a dozen steps.

But that's just what people have been able to do on a daily basis since previously scattered service units moved into the renovated Bldg. 100 last year.

Since customer service functions such as the military personnel flight and finance office moved into the "castle," Airmen have reaped the benefits of this greater accessibility.

"It makes it easier for people to do one-stop shopping," said Tech. Sgt. Charles Kidwell, 62nd Security Forces Squadron. A McChord veteran of three years, Sergeant Kidwell said he now frequents the building to visit the MPF and finance.

This convenience is just what base planners had in mind when they began designing the building's layout plans in 2000, said Lt. Col. Eric Payne, 62nd Mission Support Group deputy commander.

"Although it was initially a challenge coordinating all the moving pieces to get personnel and equipment back into the castle, it is definitely a quality of life improvement for our Airmen and a convenience having many more of the support functions in one building," he said.

Although much of the building's first floor is dedicated to customer service functions, the building also houses operational units and serves as headquarters for the 62nd Airlift Wing.

However, finding the best fit, location-wise, for all these units has been a work in progress.

Since the units began settling in the renovated building in January 2005, many areas of the 247,000 square feet building received tweaks and adjustments to best serve the mission and the customers.

For the military personnel flight, this fine-tuning focused on how to improve confidentiality while still providing accessible customer service.

Tech. Sgt. Kristi Wilson, 62nd Mission Support Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of MPF relocations and employment, said that when the MPF first moved in the mall in April 2005 they had cubicles in the middle of the service mall. As other units changed their office locations, the MPF moved into the vacated office space.

"It's better for the customers and it's better for us because of the amount of privacy act information we deal with and because it gives our customers more privacy in sensitive situations," Sergeant Wilson said.

Other units also went through a trial-and-error period with their initial setups.

At first customers saw financial customer service desks in the mall, but comptroller leadership soon discovered the location wasn't as customer-friendly as they had hoped.

These days, finance customer service is located with the rest of the 62nd Comptroller Squadron just a few feet outside the customer service mall.

"The reason we moved it back is because most people who came to see us had detailed financial questions, and we had to constantly go back [to our offices] to get additional information," said Maj. Anthony Hernandez, 62nd CPTS commander.

Though office location changes may have slowed down, customers will begin to see changes to the building's interior.

"We have an artwork package that, once it's funded, will install artwork throughout the corridors and stairwells depicting local northwest themes, contemporary Air Force and historical aspects of McChord's airlift mission," said Matthew Kitterman, project manager for Bldg. 100 and lead architect for the 62nd Civil Engineer Squadron.

External changes to the building are also in the works. McChord has awarded a contract to build a 3-foot tall brick and cable barrier wall around the perimeter of the building.

Construction of the wall is scheduled to begin at the beginning of the new year, said Mr. Kitterman.

With all the upgrades to create better working conditions for today's Airmen, some things are staying the same, including a selection of original wood-framed windows, clay tile wall and floor finishes in some of the bathrooms.

Other areas within the building changed with a nod towards their historical origins.

A false ceiling in the customer service mall was removed, allowing more natural light in and making the area truer to its dining hall roots.

Customers walking through the new service mall can appreciate the renovations while paying homage to Airmen who have lived and worked in Bldg. 100 since 1939.