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    NAVFAC Washington Cuts the Ribbon on Largest Archive for Navy History

    NAVFAC Washington Cuts the Ribbon on Largest Archive for Navy History

    Photo By Matthew Stinson | Newly renovated Buildings 46 and 67 on the Washington Navy Yard. These buildings are a...... read more read more



    Story by Matthew Stinson 

    Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Washington

    Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Washington cut the ribbon on the Naval History and Research Center (NHRC), the largest archive for Navy history ever, on the Washington Navy Yard (WNY) on Aug. 8, 2022. The NHRC was designed to support Naval History and Heritage Command’s need for modern facilities that will provide for the stewardship of the Navy’s intellectual property and some of the Navy’s most important collections.

    Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Michael Gilday, returned nearly two years to the day of the groundbreaking ceremony to welcome into service the much-anticipated NHRC.

    “History shows that the Navy that adapted better, learned faster and improved faster gained warfighting advantages over the long haul,” said Gilday. “Stories of the past help us heed the warnings of history while helping us to reflect on and sustain our legacy as the world’s premiere maritime force.”

    Gilday explained, “This building and the stories and artifacts within will preserve the experiences and lessons of the past; use the Navy’s legacy of valor and sacrifice to inspire current and future generations of Sailors; and let those who serve today know that their sacrifice will always be remembered, honored, and valued.”

    The NHRC will house the Navy’s Operational Archives, the Navy Photo Archives, and the Department of the Navy Library and Rare Book Room. The Navy Art Collection, the Navy’s combat artists and studio, and the Underwater Archeology Conservation Laboratory will also call the new NHRC home. To complete the NHRC, NAVFAC Washington renovated WNY Buildings 46 and 67, built in 1840 and 1899 respectively. The facilities now meet Navy standards for the protection and care of Navy historic collections. The old facilities were not constructed to house artifacts and many of them lacked appropriate environmental controls, risking damage from heat, humidity, water leaks, and cold. The new facilities provide optimal environmental controls for preservation of archival materials.

    When remaining work is finished in early 2023, the estimated cost will total $45 million, representing one of the largest infrastructure projects ever undertaken to preserve the Navy’s history. Despite the multi-million dollar price tag, this massive construction project was delivered far under early assessments. Originally priced in excess of $81 million, the NHRC is projected to be delivered at a savings of $36 million.

    As of Aug. 8, over 206,000 hours of work have been invested into the renovation project. A steel super structure was constructed to support the facade and bring the building up to code. Installation of a variety of components has been completed, including a bridge crane for heavy load lifting, a robust heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, a dry fire suppression system to protect sensitive archives, a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, and of course, plenty of archive storage with many rolling shelves.

    Most importantly, no lost time accidents have occurred over the course of two years of construction, a safety achievement that engineering technician Michael Parks drove with his oversight.

    “My daily duties include enforcing safety standards,” said Parks. “I conduct site safety inspections, site crane inspections, witness all mechanical pipe testing, and conduct above-ceiling and wall close-in inspections. I collect and review all of the daily and quality control reports, monitor the Requests For Information and changes to the project, and coordinate with environmental on the multiple impacts of hazardous waste.”

    The renovation wasn’t without its complications. Construction contractor Grunley Construction Co. discovered hazardous waste almost immediately after construction began in October 2020. Contaminated soil and groundwater was characterized for disposal and dewatering. NAVFAC Washington Environmental quickly determined it was both the likely source of a known large plume of tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene, solvents used for degreasing, that were being characterized in the deep groundwater in that part of WNY and a potential source of vapors that could cause indoor air issues in the renovated building. Assisted by Public Works Department Washington Environmental, NAVFAC Expeditionary Warfare Center, and facilities engineering teams, as well as contractors CH2M and Grunley, completed biological remediation efforts within a tight, six-week window, allowing for construction to continue without delay. Geosyntec, an environmental engineering firm, is still performing ongoing air quality testing and improvement to ensure the safety of personnel and archives within the facility.

    Problems cropping up in real time is a regular occurrence on construction projects of this magnitude. Some problems consist of unforeseen conditions, others consist of work that is no longer required due to being descoped. Each of those changes require a contract action. Tierra Lanier serves as the primary contract specialist on the project and dealt with many of the contract modifications.

    “There are some modifications that could be considered meticulous,” said Lanier, “But we want to display transparency, ensuring that taxpayer dollars are being spent correctly.”

    At the end of fiscal year 2020. Lanier and the contracting team had to work through a transition of systems that process upward adjustments of prior-year award obligations.

    “[The system transition] added additional days for previous fiscal year 2020 funds to be added to any modification. The contract specialists had to begin working directly with the financial management team to verify documents, obtain valid signatures, and then request our systems specialist to manually upload those funds into the document. It took a team effort to ensure the consistency and address delay when it occurred.”

    There was also a transition of management during construction. Construction management began under Lt. j.g. Glen Fotland in August 2020. He turned over management a year later to a host of teammates skilled with this type of transition when an officer completes their tour. One such teammate was Rick Rutledge, supervisory general engineer, who is often noted by many at the command to be an exceptional source of both logistic and emotional support on projects big and small. Rutledge supported Ensign Campbell “Jamison” Johnson in his transition as NHRC construction manager.

    “Teamwork was paramount in this project,” said Ensign Johnson. “There are many aspects of construction that I am not familiar with that my engineering technician, Michael Parks, is well-versed in. There are several nuances to the contract modification and acquisitions process that I wasn’t familiar with that my contract specialist, Tierra Lanier, stepped up to address. When it came to more technical acceptance and getting engineering feedback from NAVFAC, my design manager, Gavin Bailey, was critical. Couple that with partnering with the construction team from Grunley and we were able to execute this project smoothly and expeditiously.”

    The Operational Archives and Repository Complex construction is ahead of schedule, with finishing work expected to continue through the Spring of 2023. The scope of that work includes installation of furniture, fixtures, and cabinets, telecommunications, and the addition of nine windows in Building 46.

    From effective construction safety, to expert navigation of complicated contracting, to efficient construction management, it took a group who understood their capabilities and limitations, who could find and fix root causes of problems, and who were able to work together as one team to successfully guide the NHRC project to this important milestone.



    Date Taken: 08.08.2022
    Date Posted: 08.08.2022 18:49
    Story ID: 426817

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