By Bill Couch, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Midwest Public Affairs
GREAT LAKES (NNS) -- Representatives of Naval Station Great Lakes, Navy Drug Screening Lab (NDSL) Great Lakes, Public Works Department Great Lakes and Chicago-based small business Blinderman Construction Company gathered to mark the "topping off," or placing of the final roofing beam, for NDSL's new home, April 7.
Although construction was slowed during most of the winter, it picked up again in March, and the $14.8 million building is expected to be completed in December 2014.
"The NDSL staff and I were very happy to participate in the topping off tradition by signing our names on the last beam and by observing it put into place," said Cmdr. Aaron Moore, NDSL Great Lakes commanding officer. "We are excited about the progress thus far, and we look forward to seeing even more changes in the coming months."
The mission of NDSL Great Lakes is to ensure warfighter readiness by deterring illegal drug use through forensic drug testing. The command provides drug sample testing for the Atlantic region, including military entrance processing stations, Recruit Training Command Great Lakes and all Army Reserve commands.
NDSL Great Lakes currently resides in building 38H, a World War II-era building that originally housed the obstetrics ward of the former Naval Hospital Great Lakes. A study conducted in 2008 identified several building system deficiencies, including 1940s-era wiring, electrical transformers and structural elements that could no longer safely support the lab equipment's power requirements or physical weight.
Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Midwest awarded the construction contract in August 2013. The two-story building is designed to be energy efficient and to meet certification requirements under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.