Washington, DC /eNewsChannels/ — U.S. Ambassador to Burundi Pamela J. H. Slutz; Mayor of Bujumbura Mr. Evrard Giswaswa; and Acting Managing Director for Operations of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations John Finnegan, Jr. broke ground on the Bujumbura New Embassy Compound (NEC) in Burundi today.

The groundbreaking of the NEC in Bujumbura is the start of construction on the 100th diplomatic facility to be built by the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) since 2001. In the last nine years, OBO has completed 70 new diplomatic facilities and has moved more than 20,000 individuals into safe, secure and functional facilities. The Bureau has built 26 new facilities in Africa and the NEC in Burundi joins nine additional projects in design or under construction on the continent.

The Bujumbura NEC will provide a secure, safe, and functional facility for approximately 320 embassy employees. The NEC will consist of seven buildings including a chancery, Marine Security Guard Quarters, a support annex with maintenance shops, a utility building, and three compound access control structures.

The site’s landscaping creates a unified environment for its seven buildings – demonstrating the U.S. Government’s commitment to green design and sustainability as well as excellence in architecture. The compound’s design incorporates rain water harvesting and photovoltaic panels to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver rating.

Caddell Construction of Montgomery, Alabama will construct the NEC. The approximate cost of the entire project is $137 million. The architectural firm of Einhorn Yaffee Prescott of Albany, New York designed the compound. The proposed completion date for the NEC is 2012. Approximately 500 workers will be involved in the construction of the NEC.

The construction of the NEC in Bujumbura reflects the importance of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Burundi, and emphasizes the commitment of the United States to remain engaged with the Burundian people as they strive to build a peaceful and democratic society.