The U.S. Department of State’s Bureaus of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) and Administration announced today the award of a $138 million contract to build a New Embassy Compound (NEC) in Dakar, Senegal.
The NEC in Dakar will be constructed by B.L. Harbert, International of Birmingham, Alabama. The project consists of a chancery building, three compound access control facilities, Marine Security Guard Quarters, a parking garage, a recreation facility, vehicle maintenance, shop facility, and a mail screening facility. The NEC will provide a more secure, safer, and more functional facility for the 455 employees who will work at the embassy.
The new facility will incorporate sustainable design and the embassy is planned to qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification. Included in the project will be solar collectors for electricity generation and hot water. Water-conserving plumbing fixtures will yield an average 35% reduction in potable water consumption. Irrigation water needs will be achieved by using native and drought-tolerant plants, along with efficient irrigation technologies. The facility will include heat recovery chillers and daylight harvesting systems to reduce electrical demands.
The 9.9-acre site, located in the Pointe des Almadies of Dakar, Senegal, was acquired from a private company, Vacances Cap Skirring, for $15.5 million in 2007. The NEC will replace the existing embassy building, which has been occupied by the United States Government since 1979.
The Dakar NEC is the 37th major security construction project undertaken by OBO in Africa in the last ten years. OBO has completed 27 projects and the Dakar NEC joins nine additional projects in design or under construction on the continent. The Dakar NEC is the 105 project awarded since the East African bombings in 1998.
The scheduled completion date for the Dakar NEC is spring 2013.
Fortress Embassies have their critics. (No, make that "their haters.") Having no aesthetic sensibility myself, I happily leave the architectural criticism to others. For my money, the bottom line on OBO's program of new embassy construction is in slide #18 of this presentation. Three years from now, Embassy Dakar's 455 employees will be in good company.