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Naval captain to oversee $4.7 billion in local construction

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Navy Capt. Joseph A. Campbell took command Friday of the newly created officer in charge of construction for Marine Corps Installations West at Camp Pendleton.

In his new role, Campbell will oversee the contracting of more than $4.7 billion in construction on the five Marine Corps bases in the West – Yuma, Ariz., and Barstow, Twenty-nine Palms and Camp Pendleton in California.

Two dozen contracts will be awarded by the end of the current fiscal year, and Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert, commanding general of MCIW, said the numbers will continue to grow each year for the next three years.

“I’ve had a long relationship with the Seabees,” Lehnert said during the establishment ceremony. “They move to the sound of guns and they move to the sound of great projects. This is a great project.”

Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) created OICC MCIWEST and its eastern counterpart at Camp Lejeune, N.C., to support the construction surge that is necessary under the “Grow the Force” initiative announced by President George W. Bush in January 2007.

An estimated $17 billion is needed for facilities to accommodate the planned personnel increases of 27,000 new Marines by 2011 and 74,000 new Army soldiers by 2013 to assist the global war on terrorism.

“There’s a lot at stake – these new facilities need to be completed on time,” said Navy Rear Adm. Christopher Mossey, commander of NAVFAC Atlantic. “A lot of the 27,000 already are on the ground training.”

The $4.7 billion West Coast workload will be spent between fiscal years 2008 and 2012. It will include 46 bachelor enlisted quarters valued at $1.4 billion.

Projects will include 46 bachelor enlisted quarters valued at $1.4 billion. Also included will be the construction of maintenance and storage facilities upgrading some of the existing buildings that in many cases are more than 50 years old.

“Make no mistake: this directly supports the Marines returning from combat in Iraq, Afghanistan and other (combat zones),” Cambell said.

Contractors will have the chance to bid on the projects in what Lehnert said will be a “competitive process, but opens the door for many.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for businesses,” he said. “During a hard economic time we’re going to be spending $4.7 billion.”

Not all work will go to one big contractor. Instead, the work will be divided to give many companies a piece of the work.

There will be, however, some larger contracts – such as a grouping of several BEQs – that Campbell said will be ideal for a large company. That company then can subcontract to smaller, local companies.

To speed the process and ensure that the spaces built will fit the needs of the operations carried out within, Campbell said the men and women working at the facilities will be an important part of the planning process.

“What better way to build storage for tanks than to talk to the mechanic who will work on them,” Campbell said.

With the necessity of quick turn-around time on these projects, design and construction will be awarded to the same company so that the initial plans can be approved and workers can begin building quickly. The smaller details will be worked out in subsequent approvals.

To contractors, Lenhart said, “Sharpen your pencils. It’s going to be a great ride.”

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