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BAE expansion under way

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BAE Systems and McMillin Commercial broke ground Tuesday on the seventh building at Liberty Station, this one anchored by BAE Systems.

This newest addition to the development will be a 104,000-square-foot building, with BAE Systems occupying 80,000 feet. It will be the first building to follow LEED certification guidelines and the last pre-leased space.

The building itself will likely receive base level LEED certification, said Joe Haeussler, senior vice president with McMillin Commercial. But BAE Systems will take it a step further on the inside, aiming for Silver level certification.

A rendering of BAE System's new space at Liberty Station. Daily Transcript staff photo

Old materials from the Naval Training Center that previously occupied the land now known as Liberty Station will be used in construction of the new building, and energy efficient lighting systems and renewable materials will be used inside.

“The government is doing all LEED building now,” said Jim Burghard, director of facilities and property director for the new building. “We thought we’d jump on that, too.”

The new BAE Systems office will house about 200 employees -- mostly engineers -- with about one-third new hires, said Erwin Bieber, president of network systems, electronics and integrated solutions for the company. Other employees will relocate from existing offices.

Bieber said the new location and shift of employees from East Coast and other California locations is in response to a shift toward San Diego in BAE's primary customer, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.

“This 80,000-square-foot space will become BAE Systems’ command, control, communications, computers and intelligence location,” said Ted Spilman, vice president of business development. “We chose it because it puts us next to our customers.”

Engineers at Liberty Station will focus on improving maritime networking as well as unifying communications systems across all military branches. In addition, the San Diego office will support related efforts at other company locations.

One area of focus for the company is streamlining all military into one common communications system.

“We’ll try to collapse a lot of systems they have into one,” said Christian Rodriguez, systems engineer for BAE Systems. “Instead of niches of capability, we’ll bring them onto a common, flexible system.”

Part of their job will be to improve upon existing technology, but engineers also will create new technology that could improve the day-to-day operations and effectiveness of the fleet.

For example, engineers have created a computer system that will merge several applications and windows into one, making it possible for a sailor to communicate with several people, watch streaming video to identify potential threats and process information all at one computer station.

Erwin Bieber, president of BAE Systems Network Systems, and Jim Loerch, systems engineer, look at a biometric scanner, which can fingerprint, take pictures, perform iris scans and then send the inforomation to central database to check for possible terrorists. Daily Transcript staff photo

Another new piece of technology would allow sailors to carry a portable device that could take photographs, scan fingerprints and even eyes and then compare the information to government databases in hopes of identifying terrorists or others who might pose a threat.

As the company continues to grow its San Diego presence, there is room for expansion within the same building and even into neighboring buildings as needed, BAE Systems officials said. An expansion could occur within the first few years of operation.

“Because we are so close to our customer and the fleet … I have every expectation it would grow,” Bieber said.

BAE Systems is scheduled to begin moving into the building in June 2009. Final construction is expected to be completed in August 2009.

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