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Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Celebrate Refurbished Building and New Partnership

By Teri Carnicelli | NSWC Port Hueneme Division | Nov. 5, 2020

PORT HUENEME, Calif. —

Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) senior leaders and private contractors gathered in a small group Nov. 4 at the PHD campus to celebrate the extensive renovation and modernization of a new space for the command’s growing Air Dominance Department (A Dept.).

Not only was Building 1385 the first building at the command over the last several years to be fully gutted, reconfigured and renewed, but the project was also the first to be overseen by a new partner for PHD—the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).

“We’ve taken an old building, and completely revitalized and modernized it to be a state-of-the-art facility,” NSWC PHD Commanding Officer Capt. Andrew Hoffman told attendees during the ribbon-cutting event. “USACE and OCS Construction Services really knocked this one out of the park. They made a fantastic workplace for our team.”

The extensive work included a new energy-efficient interior with LED lighting, a new kitchenette, fresh interior and exterior paint, carpet and vinyl floor installation, a data closet, ADA-compliant restroom refurbishment, open-seating desks, and window coverings.

The team moved bathroom access from off the kitchen to the entrance hallway adjacent to the front door. The new kitchenette has more storage with soft-close, dark-colored cabinetry and ample counter space.

Outside, the building received an energy efficient HVAC system on the roof as well as 3D building numbers. Total cost of the project was $747,000.

The 2,500-square-foot building was first constructed in 1985 as a base support/administration facility. At one time, it also served as the command’s main security office. Most recently, it housed members of A Dept., who will re-occupy the facility as the new home of the department’s computer programming engineering branch once a safe social-distancing and rotational work plan is finalized.

NSWC PHD’s go-to contractor coordinator for these types of facilities projects is Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), whose actual scope of work goes well beyond building construction and supervision. So, when NAVFAC wasn’t available for the project, the command reached out to USACE.

“This was our first project teaming with USACE,” said James Thompson, NSWC PHD facilities project manager. “The engineers conducted themselves in a very professional manner, were extremely cooperative and helpful when assistance was required and never hesitated to expend that little extra effort to ensure the renovation and reconfiguration went smoothly.”

In fact, USACE project managers worked with private industry construction partner OCS Construction Services in Riverside, California to make repairs to an exterior wheelchair ramp that weren’t part of the original plan.

Robert Ramos, USACE project engineer, said a cracked and crumbling piece of the ramp was chiseled out and new concrete poured in its place.

“My guys also took it upon themselves to sand down the metal railings on the ramp, which were rusted pretty badly in some places, and repaint them,” Ramos added.

Mark Vaca, Sr., president of OCS, said the detailed and thorough design USACE provided to his company allowed his team to keep the project on schedule and within budget.

“Essentially, the PHD command wanted to give the space a facelift with modernization in fixtures and finishes and reconfiguring the space,” Vaca said. “USACE Project Manager Priscilla Perry had commented that she wanted to see a new kitchenette that gave people the ‘wow’ factor in terms of contrast in colors while also complementing the floor and wall finishes.”

“They (OCS) did a fabulous job,” Perry said in comments prior to the event because she wasn’t able to attend. “When I first saw the building (in its original condition), I said to myself, ‘We need a miracle to rehab this place.’ We chose the right contractor for the right job and the transformation was astonishing.”

Things went so well, in fact, that USACE has since supervised and completed other projects at NSWC PHD, such as the re-striping of multiple parking areas. Another building rehabilitation is scheduled for this fiscal year, again in partnership with OCS.

“There is a time and cost benefit in remodeling an area to make it better,” Perry said. “With careful planning and focus, one can create the space better than before for less cost. That was achieved with Building 1385.”

NSWC PHD Technical Director Paul Mann told attendees the newly modernized space follows with the command’s strategic objective to recruit and retain talented people, and that the refurbished building will support other departments as well.

“We are proud to collaborate with anyone and everyone who can help us achieve our mission,” Mann said. “The reconfiguration went exactly as planned and exceeded our highest expectations. USACE’s and OCS’s excellent performance is a major ingredient to the delivery of this building and set the conditions for better partnerships and more opportunities ahead. As the Navy progresses into the future, so do our needs for the fleet and the work we do to support it.”

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