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By Michael Brayshaw, NNSY Deputy Public Affairs Officer
Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) cut the ribbon on its new Production Training Facility November 30.
This four-story multipurpose building is NNSY’s largest completed project to date as part of Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command’s (NAVFAC) Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP). It will consolidate training that was previously spread across the shipyard into a single 157,000 square-foot, $73.3 million dollar facility.
Featuring 34 academic classrooms and 26 mock-up areas, this will become the training hub for NNSY’s production workforce of more than 4,500 employees as well as personnel in the departments of Quality Assurance, Operations, Engineering and Planning, and Lifting and Handling. It will also support future training requirements associated with Gerald R. Ford Class Carriers and Virginia Class Submarines, strategically positioning the shipyard to support The Navy Our Nation Needs.
The facility will provide applied instruction using drydock, carrier shipboard, and fall protection mock-ups, and features dedicated training areas in pipefitting, welding, crane and rigging, and motor and generator repair. Amenities at NNSY’s newest building include outdoor seating areas, break rooms, study rooms and a mini-mart.
“This facility will not only help in meeting our one mission in the repair, modernization and inactivation of our Navy’s warships and training platforms, but absolutely to do it as one team,” said Shipyard Commander Captain Dianna Wolfson. “From this very place, we will be providing training for ships that will be in service decades from now, and training thousands upon thousands of shipyard employees who will develop and strengthen foundational skills for their entire careers.”
At the ceremony, Rear Admiral Maria “Lore” Aguayo, Commander, NAVFAC Atlantic, discussed this “precedence setting” project that involved establishing a Resident Officer in Charge of Construction (ROICC) office for NNSY. The ROICC office is dedicated to overseeing the execution of SIOP projects, currently estimated to be more than $2.4 billion dollars. To complete this project, NNSY’s ROICC, Commander Kendall Chapman, coordinated with engineering partner Clark Nexsen on developing requirements and completing the initial design, and RQ Construction, LLC, based in Carlsbad, Calif., for completing design and construction of the facility.
“The collective team came together and did a fantastic job delivering this amazing facility,” said Aguayo. “It was not always easy. The team overcame the challenges of navigating through unprecedented COVID-19 impacts which caused significant manufacturing delays and skilled labor shortages along with the complexity of working in the shipyard. However, the team worked together seamlessly and always found a way to keep moving forward. I thank everyone who worked so hard to execute this impressive and critically important project for the Navy.”
Marrying past and future, this facility includes a number of touches paying tribute to NNSY’s 255-year history, including photo murals from as recent as 2020 when NNSY hosted two carriers at the same pier, to imagery of the USS Arizona (BB-39) which was thoroughly modernized at NNSY from 1929-1931 prior to its tragic loss during the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941.
Several community leaders attended the ribboncutting, including Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover, Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander, and numerous Portsmouth council and school board members.
Prior to cutting the ribbon, NAVSEA Commander Vice Admiral Bill Galinis commended the shipyard workforce for what it achieves every day while now being able to benefit from a facility having academics and application under one roof. “You can have the best facilities, technologies and processes, but it’s really about the men and women on our waterfront every day, working day and night to return ships back to the Fleet,” said Galinis. “The work that you do every day matters and makes a difference.”