Washington, DC /eNewsChannels/ — U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Mary Burce Warlick; Minister for the Environment and Spatial Planning, Oliver Dulic; Mayor Dragan Djilas of the City of Belgrade; and Managing Director for Construction, Facility & Security Management of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations Rod Evans broke ground for the Belgrade New Embassy Compound (NEC) in Serbia today.

The Belgrade NEC will provide a secure, safe, and functional facility for the approximately 400 employees who will work at the embassy. The NEC will consist of seven buildings including a three and half-story main chancery, Marine Security Guard Quarters, a support annex with maintenance shops, a utility building, and three compound access control structures.

The seven state-of-the-art buildings are separated but tied together by a landscape design that demonstrates the Department’s commitment to green design and sustainability. The embassy compound will be a LEED™ (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building. The compound will include the use of local materials, trees for shading to reduce heat island effect, the use of daylighting to reduce the need for artificial illumination and provide views, and use of water- and energy- efficient technologies to reduce the compound’s utility load and carbon footprint.

The centerpiece of the compound will be the three and a half-story chancery building featuring an interior atrium and multimedia center to enhance outreach and our public diplomacy efforts. Natural light will illuminate the interior of the stone-clad building and the atrium will feature natural wood walls and ceiling finishes as well as a native granite floor.

Framaco International of Rye Brook, New York will construct the NEC. The approximate cost of the entire project is $117 million. The architectural firm of Louis Berger Group of Morristown, New Jersey designed the compound. The proposed completion date for the NEC is 2012. Approximately 500 workers will be involved in the construction of the facility.

The new Embassy will reflect not only the importance of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Serbia, but also the breath of issues in which the two countries are engaged in as this new century progresses.

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