Monday, February 7, 2011

Another Ribbon Cut, Another Fortress Embassy Opened

The Office of Overseas Buildings Operations is on a roll, dedicating a second new embassy compounds in as many weeks, this one in Lusaka, Zambia.

Here's the press release:

Reflecting the importance of the United States’ diplomatic relationship with Zambia, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Johnnie Carson dedicated the new United States Embassy compound in Zambia today. Zambian President, Rupiah B. Banda and First President of the Republic of Zambia, Kenneth D. Kaunda, and U.S. Ambassador to Zambia, Mark C. Storella and Managing Director of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, Jay Hicks attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new Embassy on Ibex Hill was designed to incorporate unique architectural features that showcase elements of Zambia. It also integrates green building techniques and has been registered with the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification. The multi-building complex provides more than 350 U.S. embassy employees, both American and Zambian, with over 13,000 square meters of working space.

B.L. Harbert International of Birmingham, Alabama constructed the facility under a design/build contract; the architectural firm of Einhorn Yaffee Prescott designed the facility. The $126 million project generated jobs in both the United States and Zambia. The new facility was completed in October 2010 and at times involved more than 1,200 workers in its construction.

Since the 1999 enactment of the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act, the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) has moved more than 22,000 people into safer facilities. Including the dedication of the new Embassy in Lusaka, OBO has completed 77 diplomatic facilities and has an additional 33 projects in design or construction.

Now, the question on my mind is how many of those 350 employees can fit inside the new cafeteria at the same time. Is it as ridiculously small as the one in Addis Ababa?

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