From Valerie Maigue, Naval Base Guam Public Affairs Office
SANTA RITA, Guam (NNS) -- Three unoccupied barracks buildings were refurbished at the U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) Ordnance Annex in Santa Rita and will soon be used to house unaccompanied Sailors, once again.
Plans to overhaul the buildings were only a discussion a few months ago. However, in response to the COVID-19 threat the planning turned to immediate execution and the refurbishment was rapidly completed. The restoration of these barracks directly supports current island-wide COVID-19 response efforts and will later add much needed capacity to installation barracks shortfalls.
According to NBG Public Works Officer Cmdr. Christopher Almond, the work was completed by Base Operating Support (BOS) contractor DZSP-21 and other local contractors. While the project was quickly executed in support of COVID-19 response, Almond explained, the barracks can now be used in the long-term as part of a bigger picture.
“This refurbishment restores important housing capability to meet U.S. Pacific Fleet mission requirements – from day-to-day peacetime operations to real world contingency operations like the ongoing COVID-19 response,” Almond said.
“Similar to what we have witnessed during past natural disaster responses, the greater NBG Team once again proved their commitment to supporting our mission,” Almond said. “The team worked tirelessly to meet all requirements and got the job done. Their hard work, commitment, and dedication is apparent.”
In addition to refurbishing the barracks, NBG’s coordinated efforts provided support by connecting power to the island wide power system for the Expeditionary Medical Support System (EMEDS) at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam enabling increased hospital capacity.
“I was thoroughly impressed by the exceptional work done by NBG Public Works Department (PWD) and the greater NBG team. Operating with the sense of urgency required for this mission, each and every member of the team executed their tasks with the care and professionalism I have witnessed every single day,” Capt. Jeffrey Grimes, NBG commanding officer said. “We are one team on Naval Base Guam and that team includes all military members, civilians, and contractors who are doing their part to fight from Guam, and fight for Guam.”
NBG Public Works Department Requirements Branch Head, Freddie Rivera explained the 47,300 sq. ft. barracks refurbishment project was completed within two weeks-time.
“Before we did anything for any of the three buildings, we wanted to ensure the life safety components of the building were functional,” Rivera said. “This included the fire alarm panels – we tripped the system and it reports to the fire department. On the mechanical side, for the fire suppression systems we opened up the sprinkler valve and let it flow; the fire department got the alarm and all three buildings are good to go in that aspect.”
The repair and restoration of these buildings was significant since these buildings were unoccupied for over five years, Rivera explained. Other major parts of the refurbishment included the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, re-carpeting, re-painting, pressure washing and replacement of non-skid paint on walkways, as well as deep cleaning and replacement of hardware.
Mr. James Cruz worked on the barracks refurbishment coordinating various types of work performed.
“I’m grateful that I’m part of a team that has the ability to provide support to the everyday heroes, to work hand-in-hand tirelessly to complete a project in two days when it normally takes five, to work alongside colleagues who willingly skip dinner time with their families just to get that extra piece of work completed, and I’m grateful to provide that little-bit of comfort,” Cruz said.
The same sentiments of giving back, were echoed by PWD’s Rivera.
“Our mission is to support the warfighter,” Rivera said. “The goal is to do whatever we can for the Sailors to make it livable, habitable, and for them to be comfortable if they do have to go into isolation or quarantine. I think of these Sailors like my own children, what do I want these facilities to be like when I get there. Even with the amount of square footage we had to cover, with this team – they’re ‘fight to the finish’ type of (people).”