Construction starts on new U.S. embassy campus in Windhoek, Namibia

A ground-breaking ceremony has been held for the building of a modern, state-of-the-art new United States Embassy campus in Windhoek, Namibia.

by Staff Writer
October 30th, 2020

The ground-breaking ceremony was performed on Thursday, 23 July 2020, by U.S. Ambassador Lisa A. Johnson, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Namibia, Honourable Jenelly Matundu, and the Mayor of Windhoek, Her Worship Fransina Kahungu. 

Completion of the new U.S. Embassy campus is scheduled for 2023. At the ground-breaking ceremony for the project, US Ambassador to Namibia Lisa Johnson said construction of the compound would take three years to complete at a cost of more than N$300 million (approximately US$20 million). 

American construction firm, BL Harbert is the main contractor for the project.

BL Harbert has hired over 200 Namibians who now are part of the team building the embassy. During the three years construction they will hire more than 2,000 Namibians to help build the embassy during different phases. They are also procuring materials, goods and services from Namibian companies,” said Ambassador Johnson.

Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Jenelly Matundu said the project added value to the strong constructive relations between the two countries over the last 30 years.

Speaking further Ambassador Johnson said in addition to job creation, the U.S construction firm is currently procuring goods and services from more that 50 local companies.

According to Ambassador Johnson, the project is already injecting more that U$700,000 in the local economy each month. Johnson said the new embassy will evoke Namibia’s beautiful landscape, featuring materials including red sandstone and lighy-coloured limestone. “Landscaping will use exclusively indigenous tress and other plants and the facility will make solar power to generate 50% of the main chancery’s power needs,” she said.

Once complete in 2023, Ambassador Johnson said the embassy campus doors will be open to the public and an American Centre, where the Namibian public can learn more about America, will be incorporated into the main embassy building.

According to a fact-sheet posted on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Namibia, anyone interested in applying for a job helping build the new U.S. Embassy should send an SMS to 081 335 0683 (local Namibian number) with Last Name, First name and Position or send an email to Windhoekhr@blharbert.com.

The fact-sheet also provides the following information on the new U.S. Embassy campus project:

Campus Overview

  • Construction began in May 2020. The move-in date is planned for 2023.
  • The substantial new embassy campus will host several buildings and for the first time,
    our new U.S. Embassy will host the general public at our main embassy site.
  • The American Center will be incorporated into the main chancery building, welcoming to the U.S. Embassy the Namibian public who wish to learn more about America.
  • Consular services – support for U.S. citizens and visa applications for Namibians – will be offered for the public at the main chancery building.
  • The U.S. Embassy is American-designed, inspired by Namibia’s landscape and colors, and will be built by Americans and Namibians together.
  • BL Harbert is an American construction company that is under contract to construct the entire new campus. During the last decade they have built over 30 new embassies worldwide.

Design and Sustainability

  • The new U.S. Embassy will use materials that evoke the Namibian landscape including the red sand dunes of Sossusvlei, the landscapes of the Kalahari Desert, and the sandstone formations of Damaraland. The buildings will be covered with red sandstone and light-colored limestone.
  • The campus will use renewable solar energy, minimize water usage, and incorporate indigenous trees and other plants exclusively. Solar panels will power 50% of the energy needed for the main chancery building.
  • The final topography of the site will be terraced in a manner to maximize the benefits of the limited seasonal rains.
  • The campus will be landscaped using only drought-tolerant indigenous plant species. All invasive, non-native plant species on the campus will be removed and disposed of properly to prevent their spread.
  • Indigenous trees not located where a building will stand will be protected throughout the construction.
  • Construction firm BL Harbert will donate to Namibia new trees to off-set the impact of those that had to be removed for the new buildings.

Economic Benefit for the Namibian Economy

  • Over the course of the three years of build phases, BL Harbert plans to hire over 2,000 Namibian tradesmen.
  • In the coming months, BL Harbert will be ramping up their work force with over 50 workers constructing their temporary support structures.
  • Through the construction phase, dozens of Namibian companies will supply many materials and services needed to build a state-of-the art facility of this complexity.
  • Total economic benefit for the local Namibian economy is estimated to be over N$300 million (over US$17 million) during the next three years.

 

Photo: New U.S. Embassy Compound Design (na.usembassy.gov)

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