PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- A Hawaiian ground-blessing ceremony was held Feb. 20 for a new Army Wideband Satellite Communication Operations Center (WSOC) at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific (NCTAMS PAC), Wahiawa, Oahu.
Representatives from the Army and Navy, as well as the project's contractor, Watts Constructors, LLC, were on hand to witness the blessing of a site for a new Army operations center that will be constructed on a Navy base. The construction will be administered by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii.
"This is a unique Hawaiian ceremony and very much a tradition," said Lt. Cmdr. Kirk Lagerquist, resident officer in charge of construction Wahiawa at NAVFAC Hawaii. "I look forward to being a part of this tradition and providing our customer with a safe, professional, and quality project," he said.
The ground-blessing ceremony is important because the lands of Hawaii are considered sacred by its people. In most cases, contractors begin their projects with this traditional blessing to ensure that the construction site and workers are kept safe and the project is successful.
The ceremony concluded when Lt. Col. Patrick Kerr, commander, 53rd Signal Battalion, and Capt. Janet Stewart, commanding officer, NCTAMS PAC, untied the maile lei after a Hawaiian chant was performed.
"We are very excited about this project," said Kerr. "This facility is linked in with five other operational centers around the world providing communications support. This is a great strategic location and we are excited about this project's teamwork and partnership, and are happy to be a part of this joint team," he said.
When completed, the new facility will provide 24-hour satellite control for communications of the Department of Defense (DoD) military wideband satellite communications constellation, as well as commercial satellite communication resources, which the building will also contain.
Currently, the Army unit that controls DoD satellite communication payloads execute their mission in California. However, the approximately 60-person unit will move to Hawaii once the building at NCTAMS PAC is completed and operational.
"We are very, very proud of being a part of your mission and our job is to do the very best we can, providing quality, price, and timing," said Denny Watts, president of Watts Constructors, LLC. "This is important so that when we turn it over to you, the end users, we can all walk away with a lot of pride about what we've done and a sense of accomplishment."
The WSOC project was awarded by NAVFAC Pacific as a firm-fixed price, design-bid-build contract to Watts Constructors, LLC on Dec. 30, 2008 for $25.4 million.
Watts Constructors, LLC, will build a 28,244 square-foot operation center that will enable the Army to provide 24-hour satellite communications. The project will also include Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design features that will achieve a silver rating.
The WSOC designed for the Hawaii site will become the prototype for four additional facilities at other locations including Fort Detrick, Md., Landstuhl Heliport in Germany, Fort Meade, Md. and Schiever Air Force Base, Colo. It will be site adaptable to all locations and all WSOCs will be similar in size.
For more news from Naval Facilities Engineering Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navfachq/ .