Presidio upgrades critical to defense language training mission
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - One of the world’s premier language training schools belongs to the Department of Defense: the Defense Language Institute’s Foreign Language Center at the Presidio of Monterey. But as the military’s need for highly trained linguists increased in recent years, the center quickly outgrew its existing space, calling for new and modern facilities. The approximately $177 million upgrade plan includes the building of three new school buildings, a new dining facility and student barracks; renovating the cultural center for the institute; and a series of solar energy projects to help the Presidio in its goal to sustainably produce all of its own energy by 2030. Construction of all of these projects is being managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District. “In 2003 the Department of Defense said that they needed higher foreign language proficiency from our students,” said Steven Collins, DLIFLC chief of staff. “One way to achieve this was to increase the teacher to student ratio by making the class sizes smaller, which we did. In addition to that, the number of students attending DLI increased by 20 percent. We went from 323 classrooms in 2004 to more than 800 classrooms that we have today.” Until new facilities to accommodate the growth could be completed, DLIFLC leased space off the installation. Keeping all students on the Presidio is expected to save $1.5 million a year, Collins said. The Corps is currently working to finish the last of three new school buildings for DLIFLC. Together, the new facilities add 205 modern classrooms and increases capacity by 25 percent. The final building is scheduled for completion in August 2014. The school buildings will leverage the latest energy and water conservation technologies to operate efficiently and sustainably. A courtyard in the center of the building illuminates all interior-facing rooms with sunlight, saving electricity. The courtyard also features skylights that provide