Photo courtesy of BlackBox Network Services
Construction of a new JBM-HH communications building will begin next January. Ground was broken for the new structure during a formal ceremony near the old facility Jan. 28.
Ground was broken for a new communications building on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Jan. 28. The old communications location was damaged by an earthquake that hit the region in August 2011.
Col. Maria A. Biank, Commander 93rd Signal Brigade, Fort Eustis, Va., said damage to the old facility was so extensive that engineers condemned the building as "unsafe."
The damage included structural issues, water damage, and soil erosion. Biank said it was determined the old facility would be too costly to repair.
"The Directorate of Public Works made the determination that the old building will be demolished in the future," said Kevin Boyd, JBM-HH Network Enterprise Center chief of information systems support division. "Due to funding, that won’t happen this fiscal year, but eventually it will be torn down and a parking lot will be built there."
Biank said senior leadership helped make the decision to build a new modular structure across the street from the current communications building.
Constructing the new building near the old site allows current infrastructure to remain in place and communication from being impeded, and is less costly than moving current infrastructure to an entirely new location, said Boyd.
"Also, the equipment will be replaced to bring the joint base up to date with the latest technology," he said.
Lynise K. Wright, JBM-HH’s NEC director and NEC-National Capital Region deputy director, said the new building will provide a safe and secure location for the communications network and equipment. Further, the old building is "so dilapidated, it poses a continual danger" for losing telecommunications in the future, she said.
Wright said the new facility will also be more cost effective and secure, allowing the joint base to "modernize with better equipment," said Wright.
"It will be an extensive process," she said.
"What’s most important is that this is another example of our effort to update and improve the antiquated infrastructure here at the joint base," added JBM-HH Commander Col. Fern O. Sumpter following the groundbreaking ceremony.
The new hub will serve as the workplace for 27 employees, including contractors and Department of Army civilians, who work at the NEC. These staff will continue to work from the old facility until the new structure is completed, which is expected around January 2015.
The $3.6 million construction contract was awarded to NextiraOne Federal in May, 2013, with Black Box Network Services Government Solutions performing the work. Funding for the project was awarded from the Army’s Command Information Office (CIO)/G6 through the Installation Information Infrastructure Modernization Program Office.