NORFOLK (NNS) -- Navy officials manned shovels and tossed sand at the ceremonial groundbreaking for a three-story, $29 million U.S. Navy Reserve administrative facility at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Norfolk on March 9.
The new building, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2008, will tie reservists closer to the needs of the active fleet. A staff of 300 Sailors and 100 civilians will call the facility home by spring 2009.
The Navy Reserve headquarters move from Naval Support Activity New Orleans will allow the force to work in tandem with Norfolk-based U.S. Fleet Forces Command, according to Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command (NRFC) Rear Adm. Craig O. McDonald.
"This is part of active-Reserve integration we've been talking about," McDonald said. "It's an important piece of that. It will be a milestone in the future of the 'Total Force' Navy."
According to Vice Adm. Melvin G. Williams, Fleet Forces Command Deputy Commander, the new headquarters will bring both the Citizen-Sailor force closer geographically to the fleet, and create new synergies to bolster the fight in the global war on terrorism.
"The 'Total Force' approach is the way we are going to do business in the 21st century," he said. "It is the right answer."
The Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) in the spring of 2005 directed the collocation of Navy Reserve Forces Command (NRFC) with U.S. Fleet Forces Command.
Chicago-based Archer Western Contractors Ltd. will construct the 88,000-square-foot contemporary brick office building that includes a multilevel parking garage.
VOA Associates, Inc., also of Chicago, used computer-aided design techniques to craft the architectural style, according to Jim Sasek, project architect.
The contractors traveled to New Orleans to interview staff in 10 different departments over five days to reach the final look.
"The goal was to make it feel like a professional office space," he said.
Navy Reserve Forces Command will vacate an aging building in New Orleans, which has a long history. Workers constructed the Mississippi riverfront structure in 1919 for the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps to use as a depot. The Army kept it until 1931, when it leased the site to the Port of New Orleans. The Army regained control with the outbreak of World War II and remained at the base until the service transferred both sides of the property along the river to the Navy in 1966.
Reserve Forces' future home will mark its latest major milestone.
In 1973, the Naval Surface Reserve Training Command in Omaha, Neb., combined with the Naval Air Reserve Training Command, then based at the former Naval Air Station Glenview, Ill., and relocated to NSA New Orleans. The two forces split under separate commands a decade later as Naval Air Reserve Force and Naval Surface Reserve Force. In 2002, they rejoined under the flag of NRFC.
For more related news, visit Commander, Navy Reserve Force Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/nrf.