By Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast
Jacksonville's Mayor John Peyton came on board Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS JAX) Jan. 7 to tour some of the city's top construction projects.
Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast is building four projects on the Jacksonville Business Journal's top 28 commercial construction projects of 2007 – three of them on board NAS JAX.
"It's impressive what's going on here. Initially, I really didn't understand the magnitude of the projects here," Peyton said during his visit to the Navy's largest hangar under construction here. "This kind of investment on this base tells me we are here to stay."
Topping off the list is the $125.9 million state-of-the-art hangar and apron project that will house five P-3C Orion squadrons and a C-130 Hercules logistics squadron. When complete, this hangar will be the largest aircraft hangar in the Navy at a length of three football fields. M.A. Mortensen, out of Minneapolis, Minn., is the contractor for this project, which is well underway and will be ready for squadrons as they start their move to Jacksonville in April 2009.
Second on the list is the $74.2 million helicopter hangar which will house five SH-60R "Romeo" helicopter squadrons. This project replaces World War II-era hangars with a state-of-the-art facility that will increase the safety and efficiency of the maintenance efforts on these helicopters. The hangars are being constructed by Walbridge-Aldinger of Detroit, Mich., and are expected to be completed by June 2009.
Coming in at number 21 is the $15.1 million BRAC 05 project that realigns NAVFAC Southeast's Charleston, S.C., office with its Jacksonville office. The Haskell Co., out of Jacksonville, Fla., has the design and construction contract for the new building which will be ready in August 2008.
These three projects may have made the Jacksonville Business Journal list for 2007, but they are not the only projects going on at NAS JAX. NAVFAC Southeast is currently working 70 projects totaling more than $362 million on board NAS JAX and hundreds more throughout the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean. The projects for 2007 totaled more than $2 billion.
"The Mayor was interested in the number of local sub-contractors that are used for the projects," said Public Works Officer, Cmdr. Chuck Lewis. "There are 200-300 people daily on these two project sites with a high number of local tradesman and laborers."
There are currently 18 sub-contractors from the Jacksonville area working on the P-3 and helicopter hangar projects totaling $65 million. Many of the contracts for military construction bring work to local businesses here and throughout the Southeast.
The realignment at NAVFAC Southeast has also created several hundred vacancies in Jacksonville at its headquarters, along with many of its Public Works Departments throughout the Southeast. NAVFAC Southeast is actively recruiting professionals from the Jacksonville area along with students and graduates from area colleges. To learn more about NAVFAC and career opportunities with NAVFAC Southeast, visit their Web site at www.navfac.navy.mil and click on Employment, then Career Opportunities at NAVFAC Southeast.
"I'm proud of the fact that this base is experiencing unprecedented growth, and we view the military presence as a viable component of our community. We try to be supportive anyway we can to help them achieve their goals," Peyton concluded.