By Frank Whitman
The Guam Army National Guard held a groundbreaking ceremony Aug. 3 to kick off the construction of a 36,139-square-foot readiness center to house the 1224th Engineer Support Company and the Detachment 2 Aviation Unit.
The $37.38 million project was awarded in September 2022 to Global Pacific Design Builders LLC and Core Tech International. The architect for the project is Taniguchi Ruth Makio Architects, also a Guam firm.
The project is expected to be completed by Feb. 26, 2025, according to a release from the Guard.
The facility is located in the Guam National Guard complex in Barrigada. The 1224th and Det 2 are currently based at Fort Juan Muna at the east end of the Harmon Industrial Park. Relocating the units will reduce safety concerns about primary highway access at the current location, and provide proper storage of the unit’s equipment, the Guard stated.
The facility will include a backup emergency generator, paved parking, a controlled waste facility, a flammable materials facility, medical storage, aviation life support, backup emergency generator and photovoltaic energy.
The design of the project utilizes sustainable strategies and features to reduce energy consumption, conserve resources, minimize environmental impact, and improve occupant productivity, health and comfort to reduce the total cost of the project. It is to achieve at least a LEED-NC Silver rating.
The Army is considering converting Fort Juan Muna to a training center after its current occupants relocate.
Remarks at the groundbreaking were made by Brig. Gen. Michael W. Cruz, the adjutant general of the Guam National Guard; Capt. Troy Brown, commanding officer of Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Marianas; and Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
Cruz emphasized the high stakes in the defense of Guam noting the loss of 10 percent of the island’s population in the Japanese occupation during World War II and offering examples of atrocities wrought on his own family during the war.
“Unfortunately, the next great Pacific war is more than just rumor,” he said. It may be coming.”
Leon Guerrero told those in attendance that the Guard’s focus on the defense and aid particularly to Guam and its residents makes it especially valuable to Guam.
“I view the Guam National Guard in this whole geopolitical oppositions and conflict as the Guard that’s going to focus strictly on the defense of our civilian population,” she said. “We will have the military and I know the military will also focus to protect not just the military assets or the military personnel, but the civilians. But I know that the Guard’s main focus is going to be the people of Guam, our own people that are born here, that live here and that will die on our almighty beautiful island of Guam.”
The project is funded with fiscal 2022 military construction funds.
Brown, whose command is the contracting agent for all Military Construction projects in the Marianas, spoke of the value of teamwork in providing for the nation’s defense. “The contributions of these units (the 1224th and 244th Aviation Regiment) that have been here span decades,” he said. “Gathering the requirements for what their future is going to look like is important and fundamental to what we’re going to need to do together in supporting the defense of Guam.”
The contract awardee for the project, Global Pacific Design Builders LLC is based in Guam and is a Native Hawaiian 8a certified small business, according to Charles Rios, managing partner. On July 19, the company, along with partner Core Tech, was awarded a $5.67 million contract to design and build a 240-stall parking lot on Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz. It is to include grading, landscaping and lighting.