Good morning, Under Secretary Kennedy, Ambassador Brewster, Mr. President, Madam First Lady, and other honored guests.
I’m Heather Townsend – Principal Deputy Director of the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations – and I, too, would like to thank you for joining us for this important ceremony.
I am delighted to be here and incredibly excited to celebrate the dedication of our new Embassy in this significant cultural center of the Dominican Republic.
The investment we’ve made here provides a new secure, modern, and environmentally sustainable platform to continue to serve diplomacy for many years to come.
This project began with a vision for a new Embassy that would incorporate our important security requirements; co-locate the mission from seven separate locations; convey our values of openness, sustainability and excellence; and be responsive to the local environment.
The California-based architecture firm Moore Ruble Yudell was selected to make that vision a reality – and here in Altos de Arroyo Hondo I believe they’ve made quite a statement.
Their design represents innovation, environmental sustainability, and a thoughtful consideration of the visitor experience. They worked closely with the project team to ensure that the design responds to the local site, climate, and culture of Santo Domingo.
The facilities boast several sustainability features, including a 345 kilowatt photovoltaic array that, combined with other energy-saving measures, helps reduce energy costs by up to 35 percent. This project is currently registered for LEED Silver certification with the U.S. Green Building Council, with aspirations of achieving LEED Gold .
The permanent art collection will focus on light, color, and nature with works by contemporary American, Dominican, and Dominican-American artists.
Construction is a cooperative effort and through their dedication and teamwork – with over 1800 Dominican, American and other workers – our partner Caddell Construction Company of Montgomery, Alabama turned the design into a state-of-the-art campus.
I would also like to recognize the OBO team who has skillfully managed this project on behalf of the Department from the early planning phases through occupancy, especially Project Director Rob McKinnie.
And most important, thank you, Ambassador Brewster and Embassy staff for your tremendous support as we worked to complete this project. I wish you all many successful years here.
Again, it is my great pleasure to join Under Secretary Kennedy, Ambassador Brewster, President Medina, and honored Dominican guests in celebrating the dedication of the new U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo. I believe we have made a worthy contribution to this great city.