Military service members and civilian employees from Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) voluntarily forward deployed this month to partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “Whole-of-Nation” effort in combating COVID-19.
NAVFAC teams are on the ground providing Architectural/Engineering and Construction Managements services in support of the USACE mission to convert hotels, dormitories, and arenas to Alternate Care Facilities (ACF). NAVFAC teams are supporting the efforts in multiple areas of the United States, including Roanoke, Virginia; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Nashville, Tennessee, as well as various sites in Maryland and the island of Guam.
“Our support continues to be dynamic, and our teams are plugged in with our Army Corps of Engineers counterparts” said Rear Adm. John Korka, commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and Chief of Civil Engineers. “We continue to take precautions to keep our people safe while making a difference in the COVID-19 fight.”
The NAVFAC team in Roanoke completed assessments of a convention center and an athletic building at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, utilizing FEMA’s assessment checklist. The team also supported assessments of facilities at Radford University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA Tech) and University of Virginia for conversion to Alternative Care Facilities. In addition, NAVFAC provided support reviewing scope of work and design submittals for the Richmond Convention Center.
In the Chicago District, the NAVFAC team was engaged in definitizing the contract and construction oversight of three facilities in Elgin, Blue Island, and Melrose Park. These facilities are all shuttered hospitals or care centers in or around the Chicago, Illinois metropolitan area that are being returned to service within three weeks to accept overflow from other hospitals in the Chicago area. In addition, our team is supporting a project to convert the Milwaukee State Fair Expo Center into a field hospital in ten days. The NAVFAC team is supporting these projects with a variety of services including scope development, design and submittal reviews, construction management and quality assurance oversight.
On April 4, the NAVFAC team, supporting the Detroit District, started work performing engineering and quality assurance services for the TCF Convention Center in Detroit and the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan. When the TCF Construction Center completed and was turned over, the team moved over to the Suburban Collection Showplace.
In Nashville, NAVFAC personnel volunteered to provide construction management and assessment work to convert the 2.1 million-square foot Music City Center to a temporary hospital for FEMA. As the curves started to flatten and the peak expected to hit, Tennessee canceled assessments at further sites and terminated the contract in Nashville. While the team’s skills were no longer needed in Nashville, they were redeployed to help support efforts in the Chicago district.
Near our Nation’s capital, the NAVFAC team in Maryland supported USACE on a one-day site survey of the Naval Support Activity Annapolis, Brigade Sports Complex (BSC). In addition to reviewing fire protection, HVAC, utility systems, power redundancy and communications capabilities of the BSC, the team assessed numerous complex spaces to include the hockey rink, tennis courts, locker rooms and concession areas, which would be used to support patients and medical staff requirements. Two additional assessments were done by the NAVFAC/USACE team in Maryland at the Prince George's County Sports and Learning Complex, and the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.
In the Pacific area of operations, the NAVFAC team in Guam, accompanied by Guam Air National Guard representatives, completed site assessments for nine facilities identified as potential acute or non-acute ACFs. The site assessment included a thorough review of the site, facility, fire protection program, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning and electrical systems, and a hazardous materials check. Of the nine facilities assessed from March 31 to April 13, five were recommended for further consideration as ACFs, with two assessments pending final recommendations. The NAVFAC Marianas team is prepared to provide additional construction management and quality assurance support, if required.
“The Alternative Healthcare Facilities being established in Guam are critical for the U.S. and Department of Defense to expand medical capacity and care for the people of Guam, military and civilian. Limited healthcare facilities currently exist in Guam so we have partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA to help provide relief,” said Rear Adm. John Adametz, commander, NAVFAC Pacific and fleet civil engineer, for U.S. Pacific Fleet.
“U.S. territories like Guam are not only home to many Defense Department military and civilians, but also to many of our industry partners and other patriots who help keep the DoD mission moving forward uninterrupted. Moreover, it is just the right thing to do. When you have the capability and means to provide humanitarian relief during a global pandemic, compassion for others goes a long way. We are all in this together, and NAVFAC will do whatever we can contribute to caring for our citizens as we collectively combat COVID-19.”
Rear Adm. Dean VanderLey, commander, NAVFAC Atlantic and fleet civil engineer for U.S. Fleet Forces Command agreed about NAVAFC capabilities to support the global efforts against the pandemic.
“This is exactly the kind of work we do best, flexing to support where we’re needed, being agile to meet the demands of high priority emergent work, while still keeping pace with the mission at hand,” said VanderLey. “We’re excited to be supporting the Corps of Engineers’ Arena to Healthcare and Closed Hospital to Healthcare Concept as that means we’re helping to create alternate care facilities in just a matter of a few weeks.”
“We know all too well that some hospitals are well beyond critical capacity and when the combined team is done, we’ll be able to turn over facilities to meet the critical needs of state and local authorities responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” concluded VanderLey.
NAVFAC is the Naval shore facilities, base operating support, and expeditionary engineering systems command that delivers life-cycle technical and acquisition solutions aligned to Fleet and Marine Corps priorities.
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