October 13th, 2007 09:23 EST
Workers Rebuild Communications Center in BAGHDAD
BAGHDAD— Communication in Baghdad can be an exercise in frustration, a hit-or-miss proposition due to both geography and technology issues. That will change as reconstruction of a major communication facility continues.
The war resulted in the destruction of Al Mamoon telecommunications. The Al Mamoon was the technology hub where telephone and cell phone calls, as well as other forms of telecommunications, were routed. The new facility will restore that function as Iraqis and the Coalition continue to work reconstruction projects, which are vital for the normalization of the country.
The Al Mamoon is being rebuilt by Alfa Consult for the Ministry of Communications. The new complex will include a glass-faced 41-meter-high building, housing new telecommunications switching equipment. This will enable residents to place phone calls in and around Baghdad and throughout Iraq, allow for faster Internet access, as well as house new satellite and cell phone equipment.
The construction plans also include a 200-seat auditorium, conference rooms and a cafeteria able to serve 150 people. There will be a new Post Office that provides access to FedEx and DHL, as well as a four-story parking garage. The grounds will be landscaped and rows of trees will line the walkways.
“This building is considered the heart of Iraq,” said Mohammad Abdula, the project manager.
The old Al Mamoon, according to Abdula, was a landmark. “It was a very famous building to Baghdad people in time of Saddam. Ask any person in Iraq ‘Do you know Al Mamoon building?’ and they will say 'yes',” said Abdula.
The rebuilding has not been easy. While the project employs 175 workers, it took 10 months to clear the site of debris. Curfews delayed the project for several months. Some building materials have to be trucked in from Dubai. The contractors wanted to run two shifts to speed up the complex’s construction, but security concerns did not allow it. The Ministry of Communications has made this a high priority project and crews have been working hard, still the project is one to two months behind schedule.
Still, Abdula remains excited about the project and the centers potential. “It will connect Iraq with the world,” he said.
By Sgt. Jerry Saslav
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