MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The increased number of Marines, as a result of the "Grow the Force" initiative, has caused crowding within facilities and parking lots aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune within the past few years. MCB Camp Lejeune addressed this problem by constructing the Wallace Creek Complex, which is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 14.
The $196-million Wallace Creek Complex will house infantry Marines aboard the base just off of Birch Street. The complex will consist of 18 new structures, comprising a total of nearly 510,000 square feet.
"Division was having three men to a room, which was not what we wanted to do but had to because of the lack of space," said John Caston, a facility planner with Installation Developments Division, MCB Camp Lejeune. "We knew we couldn't build all this in the (Hadnot Point) areas, so we decided to find a new location."
The project will construct the necessary administrative and headquarters facilities, operational, maintenance and mission support facilities, as well as training and housing facilities to support approximately 3,000 Marines and sailors who will soon be living there. The building project will also construct facilities necessary to support the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command's mission.
Caston said when Marines and sailors move in, they will immediately feel as if they're in a hotel, since they will use swipe cards to gain access to their rooms.
"The new BEQs are a big change from the ones that (the base) has - even the entry-way lobbies look like the ones you see in hotels," said Caston.
The complex will also feature the base's first parking garage, which will be an open, four-level structure to allow spacing for 897 personally-owned vehicles and 33 motorcycles. The roof of the parking garage will include photovoltaic solar panels, which will be capable of producing one megawatt of power, which is equal to 1-million watts.
While developing the master plan for the construction projects, base officials wanted to create facilities that are more energy efficient. To cut the use of energy, buildings will utilize things such as boiler systems that use natural gas to reduce the amount of emissions and photovoltaic solar panels to reduce the use of electricity. The new facilities will help make the goal of reducing 30 percent of the military's energy consumption by 2015.
The master plan enables up to four battalions that will be located around a central operational and maintenance area, which will include motor transportation, electric, communications, maintenance facilities and armories. A supply warehouse will also be in located in the center to support the regiments. The regimental headquarters will be in the center of the complex, but not immediately adjacent to the battalion and company headquarters, and each battalion and company headquarters will be located in proximity to the three barracks that will house their Marines and sailors.
Base officials also wanted to effectively utilize the building area to save space while maintaining an environment that divided the bachelor enlisted quarters from their work area.
Caston said the plan is to centralize the work areas and put the BEQs around the regimental area to offer the Marines a more relaxed environment during their leisure time and not feel like they are surrounded by work. The layout of the complex will also make every facility within walking distance, added Caston.
To offer recreational activities, basketball and volleyball courts will be built near the BEQs and every BEQ will have a lounge located on the ground floor.
Navy Capt. Craig Fulton, the assistant chief of staff for Installations and Environment, Marine Corps Installations East and director for Installations and Environment, MCB Camp Lejeune, said the new complex will be a pleasant living experience for Marines and sailors coming back from deployments.
"It's a great improvement for the quality of life for the Marines when they come into garrison from their time out in Afghanistan and Iraq," said Fulton.
Marines and sailors will soon catch a whiff of fresh paint as they begin moving into facilities that have completed construction.