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Camp Pendleton busy with new construction, renovations

Base has more than 70 current projects

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Camp Pendleton is the Marine Corps’ largest West Coast expeditionary training facility and one of the Department of Defense’s busiest installations. It’s been even busier the last couple of years – the base is in the midst of a five-year $3.4 billion construction boom.

Sustainability is a key component of the base’s modernization.

According to Lt. Colonel Sinclair Smith, operations officer of Camp Pendleton facilities department, 80 base projects totaling more than $2.93 billion are being funded by the Grow the Force Initiative started under the Bush administration in 2007 to add 100,000 military personnel by 2013. The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is funding five projects totaling $622 million.

Smith said the base has 44 new construction projects totaling $1.56 billion and 30 maintenance and repair projects totaling $54 million under way.

Camp Pendleton has set sustainability as a top priority in new construction projects as part of their effort to meet the Secretary of the Navy’s mandatory renewable energy goals. One goal is to obtain 50 percent of the base’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.

Adding to the existing collection of solar power plants on base is the recently completed Box Canyon photovoltaic system, which was built on an otherwise unusable closed landfill. The system generates 1.48 megawatts of renewable energy annually and powers five percent of the base’s daily energy use. The five-acre PV system, one of the largest in San Diego County, is projected to save the Marine Corps $336,000 in energy costs annually. Following the strict “Buy America” protocol for ARRA funds, the PV modules were manufactured at Kyocera’s San Diego facility.

Camp Pendletonhas been on a construction spree and has made sustainable building a top priority. A newly installed Box Canyon photovoltaic system, one of the largest solar power systems in San Diego County, provides 5 percent of the energy needed for the base's daily use. Photo by Lance Cpl. John Robbart/U.S. Marine Corps

In April, the base celebrated achieving LEED Platinum certification on its Wounded Warrior Battalion-West Barracks (WWBn West). The $24.6 million project is the first LEED Platinum certified building in the Department of the Navy. The 66,464-square-foot barracks provides a home to more than 200 ill and injured Marines and sailors.

According to base officials, the WWBn West project earned LEED Platinum -- the highest rating available under the U.S. Green Building Council -- by achieving exceptional construction and energy performance across five categories: sustainable site development, energy savings, indoor environmental quality improvements, water efficiency, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by using recycled materials.

Energy savings within the barracks is more than 38 percent, saving $40,000 annually. More than 86 percent (878 tons) of waste generated on site was diverted from local landfills. Low-flow showers and toilets will save roughly 911,000 gallons of water annually.

Building on the success of WWBn West, six current projects are seeking LEED Platinum certification including a child development center, multiple bachelor enlisted quarters, the Wounded Warrior Resource and Recovery Center, and the Wounded Warrior Hope and Care Facility.

According to 2nd Lt. Ryan Welsh, Camp Pendleton media relations officer, the Wounded Warrior Resource and Recovery Campus will house the new headquarters building on base as well as the Hope and Care Center. The 9,350-square-foot headquarters includes 7,400-square-feet of administrative space and 1,950-square-feet of multipurpose space to be used by the adjacent barracks.

The Wounded Warrior Hope and Care Center is a 30,995-square-foot facility with an indoor therapy pool, an outdoor lap pool, a climbing wall and 1/8-mile running track. In addition to serving a therapeutic and recovery function, the community-based facility will include space for counseling, employment support, financial management, and training and outreach programs for wounded warriors.

The project, valued at more than $33.1 million, was awarded to Barnhart-Balfour Beatty Inc. in September 2009 and is scheduled for completion this fall.

Five new Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQs) will be built at four sites in two areas on base according to Welsh. The project totals 449,000 square-feet of building space to house 1,798 bachelor enlisted Marines in 899 rooms.

“Each BEQ consists of three or four stories of living quarters and a one-story activity building that contains recreation space and service areas such as laundry facilities, a duty room and a kitchen,” said Welsh.

All five BEQ buildings are seeking LEED Platinum rating and will include bicycle storage racks, recycling centers, and solar photovoltaic panels to provide enough energy to power a third of the facility. At one site, a geothermal system will heat two BEQs.

The $144 million contract was awarded to Harper Construction in September 2009 and will get under way in November.

The Naval Hospital broke ground on a 70-acre site in December. It replaces the existing hospital, which opened in 1974. The project includes a central utilities plant, a 1,500 space multilevel parking structure, surface parking, and site development. The four-story, 500,000 square-foot hospital will house inpatient medical facilities, emergency, primary care, and specialty care clinics, operating rooms and support spaces.

The Clark Construction/McCarthy joint venture is projected to receive LEED Gold certification. Sustainable features include a green roof on sections of the hospital and central utility plant, exterior cladding that adds 30 percent insulation value, photovoltaic cells to provide three percent of electrical demand, and solar heat to provide over 30 percent of hot water needs.

The $451 million project is the largest ARRA-funded project in the Department of the Navy. It’s scheduled to be completed in January 2014 and operational later that year. The hospital is a signature piece of the $3.4 billion makeover of Camp Pendleton, now considered one of the most modern bases in the Marine Corps.


James is an Encinitas-based freelance writer.

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