Ground Breaking Ceremony: Project Director’s Remarks


– Secretary General, representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and African Integration,

– Secretary General of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Public Security,

– The representative of the Secretary General of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transportation and Civil Aviation,

– The Members of Parliament,

– Ambassadors and Chargés d’Affaires,

– The Governor of N’Djamena,

– The Mayor of N’Djamena,

– The representatives of international organizations and various firms operating in Chad.

— Distinguished guests:

I’m Robert McKinnie, Project Director representing Lydia Muniz, the Director of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations—the design and construction arm of the Department of State. I would like to thank your for joining us this morning for this groundbreaking ceremony —the next phase of development of our New Embassy Compound in N’Djamena.

I am delighted to have this opportunity to welcome you to the site of our new embassy to celebrate this major milestone.  In February of last year, the Department of State awarded the contract for this design-build effort to the American firm of B.L. Herbert International, of Birmingham, Alabama, in conjunction with Page/Engineers of Arlington, Virginia. Together, they will complete a design begun by Moore Rubble Yudell Architects & Planners of Santa Monica, California.  The BLHI/Page Team has worked on numerous Department projects – and we look forward to another successful collaboration and anticipate completing this $225 million project by late 2016.

Page’s design further represents environmental sustainability, an exuberance of colors and textures of Chad, and a picture of the warmth of the local architectural style.  The landscaping provides a very relaxing and earthy expression of the varying aridness and airiness of Chad.

Construction of our new facility is a cooperative effort between Bill Harbert and Page Architects/Engineers.  BLHarbert’s site team here in N’Djamena is led by Mr. J.D. Blumrich and he will be with me for the duration of construction.  Also with me as part of the U.S. Government’s team is a group of American engineers and security professionals along with Chadian engineers and security personnel.

Our 12 acre compound will consists of several structures with a footprint of approximately 15,000 square meters housing the five story chancery building, warehouse/support annex, maintenance shops, recreational facilities, marine security guard residence, and access pavilions.  As the project develops, you will see a variety of indigenous art, you will see extensive photovoltaic arrays, you will see sophisticated lighting systems, you will see state of the art security systems, and you will see an abundance of drought-resistant landscaping, and you will see water treatment and waste-water treatment systems.

When completed during the latter part of 2016, our facility will create a safer and environmentally friendly workplace for our American staff, our local staff, and for the many visitors to come.

With regards to Leadership in Environmental Energy Design, we have set as one of our highest goals the target to achieve LEED Gold with the US Green Building Council and to be among the first buildings in Chad to receive the distinction of LEED certification.

I look forward to continuing the relationship that we have developed with our local architectural and engineering colleagues, our many vendors, suppliers, and subcontractors, and most certainly with officials of the Government of the Republic of Chad.

Once again, ladies and gentlemen, I wish to offer a very hardy thank you to all of you who have contributed to our success thus far, to those of you who took time out from your very busy schedules to show us support today, and to everyone who supports our effort to construct this platform from which we will conduct diplomacy.