OAK HARBOR, Wash (NNS) -- The new Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island Security Office officially opened Sept. 22, consolidating security spaces and providing more streamlined processes for the installation's security team.
Located in what was once the base Navy Calibration Laboratory, the new upgraded security building now includes physical security equipment, communication systems with fiber optics, an armory and vault equipment and electrical upgrades.
The renovated space includes administration, communication and fingerprint rooms, evidence storage, breathalyzer equipment, file spaces, additional storage, training, briefing and a conference room.
The old security office was once located in buildings adjacent to one another. Building 180, located off base on Langley Boulevard, was one of two former celestial training facilities that were built in 1944 at Ault Field.
"The most exciting thing about this new building is the fact that they designed it for security forces in mind," said Lt. Karla Bennet, NAS Whidbey Island security officer. "So instead of adapting to a building that was made for something else, they actually gutted the building and made it for us, which was amazing."
Building 220, the second of two former celestial navigation training facilities was built in 1945. The building is nearly identical to building 180 with the exception of building 220's two-story entrance and the absence of an observation tower.
"I strongly believe that people work smarter and harder if they're treated right and have a decent place to work," said Capt. Jay Johnston, NAS Whidbey Island commanding officer. "That's a little different for our security workforce because they are almost always out and about on patrol and standing sentry duty at the gates and being the eyes and ears of the base."
With its new location on base, the security forces increase their response time during emergency situations.
"I have no doubt that consolidating the security workforce into one building will improve their morale as well as their efficiency and effectiveness," said Johnston. "Connectivity is a key element to a responsive security force."
Before the move, security had supplies in four different locations, a disadvantage that added a challenge to security forces trying to conduct proper inventories, said Bennet.
"Almost everything is now located in the building with the exception of the dog kennel, which will remain at its original location on Langley Boulevard and the Pass and ID office," said Bennet. "We have everyone consolidated in one building which is phenomenal."
In addition to the interior renovations and improvements, the exterior of the security building includes an enclave fence with two automated pedestrian turnstiles, one automated vehicle gate and upgraded site lightings.
"The members of the security forces keep us safe, they protect the buildings, equipment and aircraft we're responsible for. They deserve a great place to work," said Johnston.
"It tells them that someone cares about them," said Logistics Specialist Seaman Lorili McDowell, Base Security. "Many of the MAs have been working out of the old building and making the best of it. They finally have a new building, and they deserve it.
Construction, renovation and re-modeling of the new security building began on Sept. 21, 2009 and were completed on Aug. 2; the remodeled space is approximately 17,640 square feet.
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Northwest, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cnrnw/.