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Norfolk Naval Shipyard Dedicates Submarine Maintenance Facility

By Michael Brayshaw, NNSY Lead Public Affairs Specialist | June 18, 2019

NORFOLK NAVAL SHIPYARD, Portsmouth, Va. —

Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) dedicated its new Submarine Maintenance Facility June 14.  The dedication marked the next crucial step in the NNSY’s realization of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan that will enhance the ability of the four public shipyards to meet the mission of delivering ships back to the fleet on time and within budget. 

The new facility consolidates submarine maintenance, production and support shops into a single facility adjacent to NNSY’s submarine drydocks and piers. This two-story structure features shops, storage and support spaces on the ground level, with office spaces and conference rooms on the second floor. The building was designed with an open office concept to facilitate collaboration between submarine project teams. 

“NAVSEA Commander Vice Admiral Tom Moore has challenged us to build an environment that promotes increased levels of innovation, collaboration and knowledge sharing,” said Shipyard Commander Captain Kai Torkelson at the dedication, referencing NAVSEA’s Campaign Plan to Expand the Advantage 2.0. “It’s harder to think of a better example of that than the building before us today. This facility will foster that environment by putting shops from 15 locations under one roof where they can work more efficiently with each other as they fulfill the mission. This will give our people the space and tools they need to forge high-performing teams and complete our mission of returning submarines to the fleet with superior quality and reliable delivery.”

More than three years in the making, this 9.9 million dollar project has resulted in one of the safest and sturdiest buildings in the shipyard. Designed to withstand the impact of a 500-year flood, the 24,000-square foot building should also effectively bear a category 4 hurricane. The building is in accordance with anti-terrorism force protection requirements, featuring blast proof windows and eighteen-inch thick concrete walls. It also features amenities such as a kitchen, break room, nursing mothers room, and showers.

In the past decade, NNSY submarine work has included Engineered Overhauls, Engineered Refueling Overhauls, and submarine conversions into land-based training platforms. All are complex and extensive evolutions requiring constant communication, resource sharing and effective teamwork. This new facility promises to help in all of those areas, both for the NNSY workforce as well as ship’s forces when they need to meet and train. NNSY’s current submarine projects include conversions of USS La Jolla (SSN 701) and USS San Francisco (SSN 711) into Moored Training Ships, and USS Wyoming (SSBN 742), which is being refueled and upgraded before returning to support the country’s nuclear deterrence strategy.

NNSY Submarine Program Manager Pat Ensley said the building currently supports work on the Los Angeles class submarines, and will support work on the future Virginia and Columbia classes.“It improves our abilities by having a permanent facility and place to perform production work as close to the boat as possible,” he said. Adding that the building is segmented by mechanical, electrical, nuclear and non-nuclear work areas, he said, “we’re going to have capability for every shop, with ergonomically designed work areas as well as giving individuals all the amenities they would want from starting to ending their work days.”

“Today has been a long time coming, and there have been unforeseen challenges in this project that were effectively mitigated by our shipyard facilities department, our Naval Facilities team, our contracting partner Whitesell-Green, and our operations department,” said Torkelson. “Today we commend your combined efforts as we look forward to the future of submarine repair and modernization in America’s Shipyard.”