Lejune ends one record growth year; begins another


In an all-time record infrastructure growth year, Camp Lejeune spent up to $2 million a day in 2010 on vertical construction projects, ENC Today reports. With a massive influx of troops and families to North Carolina Marine bases due to the 2008 Grow the Force Initiative, the military can’t build fast enough to accommodate the need for everything from new childcare centers and barracks to fitness centers. Two years after about 20,000 additional troops and dependents arrived in eastern North Carolina, many of the projects are finally underway, and that means a construction boom with no end in sight.

According to information from Marine Corps Installations East presented at a military business summit in October, Camp Lejeune, New River and Cherry Point received more than $810 million in Federal Military Construction funding this fiscal year, exceeding 2009’s funding by nearly $200 million. While this is the largest construction year since these installations were built, FY ’11 will set a new record, officials said.

Between construction and renovation of old facilities, opportunities abound for contractors and subcontractors. Scott Dorney, executive director of the North Carolina Military Business Center, said the center is doing everything it can to make sure that in-state and local businesses take advantage of those opportunities.

“The biggest opportunity in 2011 is going to be with the Navy and Marine Corps,” Dorney said. “It has a larger project base than the Army has. It’s also more openly competitive than the Army program.”

Dorney said the center worked with North Carolina companies to provide market intelligence about upcoming projects, offer business counseling about how to submit a winning bid and assist with networking events between prime contracting companies and potential subcontractors.

Dorney said more than $150 million this year went to renovation and restoration projects alone aboard North Carolina bases.

It’s not always easy: Most of the new Marine installation projects call for “green” construction and design, from energy reduction features to low impact environmental concerns. And contracts today, Dorney said, tend to follow a design-build model, where contracting teams are expected to incorporate general contractors and designers.

“In this environment, teaming is very important; and it’s important for companies to use our market intelligence resources to get on effective teams,” he said.

A spokesman for Marine Corps Installations East, Maj. Bradley Gordon, said local companies are hired to complete work whenever possible.

“We would like to go local, because local is easier,” he said. “We try to be good stewards of the community, so we would love for local businesses to be the contractor we choose.” Bids are considered based on a company’s quality of work and ability to complete a project, as well as the asking price, he said.

The president of Jacksonville’s R&W Construction company, Wayne Pierce, said work from Camp Lejeune and other local Marine bases has been steady for the last 10 years. A company that focuses primarily on renovation and repair projects, R&W worked on about 25 base projects priced from $2,000 to $4.5 million this year, Pierce said. “We’re very blessed to be situated here,” he said.

On Dec. 7,  NCMBC will hold a subcontracting workshop in Jacksonville with Baltimore-based contractor Whiting-Turner regarding a recently awarded barracks construction contract on Camp Lejeune’s Wallace Creek. The center is planning a similar event in Wilmington in 2011. “With the commercial market being down, there has been more interest and engagement than ever by North Carolina companies in the market,” Dorney said.  Read more.