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    OICC China Lake Delivers First Project of Earthquake Recovery Program - Multipurpose Religious Facility and Gymnasium-

    OICC China Lake Delivers First Project of Earthquake Recovery Program

    Photo By Edward Cartagena | Demolition of earthquake damaged gymnasium in February 2021.... read more read more



    Story by Edward Cartagena 

    Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific

    In response to two major earthquakes that struck the community of Ridgecrest, CA, located in the Western Mojave Desert, approximately 150 miles north of Los Angeles in July of 2019, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) established Officer In Charge of Construction (OICC) China Lake in summer 2020 to manage a $2.7 billion earthquake recovery program aboard Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake.

    Earlier this month, OICC China Lake officially delivered its first two of 55 facilities to support the research, development, testing and evaluation mission across the Navy’s single largest land holding, covering more than 1.1 million acres, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island.

    Construction of the multipurpose religious facility and gymnasium, began in Fall 2020, with demolition of the old gymnasium, All-Faith Chapel, built in 1957, and the Bennington Plaza Theater, all damaged beyond repair by the 2019 earthquakes.

    In rapid progression, the construction contractor salvaged a dozen of the stained-glass windows from the All-Faith Chapel, unearthed a time capsule from 1957, cleared the work sites of debris, moved tons of earth and began to place an underground network of foundations, trenches, cables and piping to provide utilities to the new facilities.

    By summer 2021, the majority of the underground utilities were installed. The indoor pool was prepped for plaster that would later make up its walls and floor, and the 37,618 square foot concrete pad of the multipurpose religious facility was placed.

    “OICC China Lake is ecstatic to deliver these two facilities that will improve the readiness, retention, resiliency, and quality of life for those that live and work aboard NAWS China Lake,” said Captain Ben Wainwright, OICC China Lake, commanding officer. “Over the last two years, our contractor partner, Soltek Pacific Construction and OICC China Lake positively contributed to the physical and working landscape across NAWS China Lake and the larger Ridgecrest community.”
    Later that fall, the block walls of the gymnasium were rising from the ground and the last piece of structural steel was placed, “Topping Off” the multipurpose religious facility, as it took its place along the base’s skyline with a 65-foot-tall bell tower.

    By the end of 2021, both facilities were enclosed with the installation of exterior wall panels and environmental systems. Crews then concentrated on the interiors of each facility by running electrical, installing plumbing features and raising walls. The following summer saw the installation of the hardwood basketball/volleyball flooring at the gymnasium and the hanging of ceiling and wall features, to include the backlit displays of 12 stained-glass panel along the hallways of the multipurpose religious facility.

    “The efforts of this integrated NAVFAC/NAVAIR OICC team and support from Commander, Navy Installation Command has enabled us to deliver our first project to our customers and speaks volumes about our unique and one-of-a-kind organization,” said Capt. Wainwright. “We will use lessons learned from these facilities to benefit the remaining 21 projects, five that are planned to be completed by the end of 2023, with the last project finishing in 2025, closing out our earthquake recovery efforts at NAWS China Lake.”

    In fall 2022, two stainless steel capsules were filled with command coins, patches, a CD with images of the earthquake damage and reconstruction efforts, local newspapers construction helmets signed by the attendees and personalized letters from, both commanding officers of NAWS China Lake and OICC China Lake. The capsules were sealed and placed near the entrance of each facility. During this time, the pool was filled with water for the first time and across the parking lot, furniture and equipment was being delivered and placed in the multipurpose religious facility.

    At just over 14,000 square feet the new gymnasium boasts individual and group exercise rooms, cardio floor, basketball/volleyball/racquetball courts, and a saltwater pool that is divided into five-25-meter swim lanes and a group aquatic training area.

    “Since the opening of the All Faith Multi-Purpose Religious Facility we have been blessed to see four different faith groups utilize this beautiful facility and it is our prayer that even more faith groups will begin to meet here,” said Lt. David Brainard, NAWS China Lake Chaplain.
    “We hope that all that come into this facility will become more resilient in their spiritual beliefs. This facility is also used for fellowship, conferences, training and all hands meetings in a desire to serve each person holistically and our hope is that will forever be used to accomplish this mission. Lastly, we hope that it will continue to build partnerships between the base and Ridgecrest communities.”

    The opening of the multipurpose religious facility, is comprised of three worship spaces, the Main Chapel, Multi Faith Chapel and Fellowship Hall that have restored religious ministerial services aboard NAWS China Lake. That encompass pastoral care and counseling, ceremonial support services, such as weddings, baptisms, mitzvahs, funerals, hosting command events and serves as an emergency muster point.



    Date Taken: 05.05.2023
    Date Posted: 05.25.2023 20:06
    Story ID: 445611
    Location: RIDGECREST, CA, US 

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