Updated: Aug 6
Residential towers to provide nearly 2,000 single-occupancy rooms for officers and enlisted personnel
The Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Marianas has announced 11 projects to be built at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz in Dededo, including seven housing towers that will provide nearly 2,000 single-occupancy rooms for officers and enlisted personnel who will be relocated from Okinawa to Guam.
A Programmatic Agreement memo related to the projects is now available for public review and comments through July 22. The public consultation process is required under the National Historic Preservation Act.
The projects include a high-rise consolidated headquarters for Third Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), fire and police stattions, a dining facility, seven multi-story housing complex. At least five of the buildings will each have 300 single-occupancy rooms.
The consolidated headquarters will accommodate the 3rd MEB, Combat Logistics Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment and two Infantry Battalions.
The projects are related to the Department of Defense's $10-billion program to relocate 5,000 marines from Okinawa to Guam. Officials said the marines' arrival is expected to begin by October 2024 and will take 18 months to complete.
"All 11 projects are located within the area of potential effects and are on a mostly flat, uplifted limestone plateau. The majority of the interior of the island comprises Mariana limestone," the memo said.
Project design and construction will entail tasks that may require geotechnical borings of varying depths, mechanized excavation, placement of survey markers, and other similar activities.
"In planning for the undertaking, the Department of Defense first conducted a data gap analysis to determine the need for supplemental identification and evaluation surveys and then conducted those surveys," the memo said.
"This proposed project was determined to require supplemental identification and evaluation efforts, and the results have been applied to the siting/lay down of the proposed project."
The memo said DoD surveys and evaluations focused on project-specific area of potential effects (APE) to include portions of the island subject to direct and indirect effects of projects.
"More specifically, the APE for these vertical projects has been subject to one or more of the historic property identification efforts, which may include background research, consultation, oral history interviews, sample field investigation and field survey," the memo said.
The memo said archaeological studies identified the presence of historic properties in the project location.
The memo cited a 2018 resolution agreement between the Navy and Guam SHPO to implement monitoring and archaeological investigation for discoveries identified during activities.
"Ongoing investigations are executing the agreed-upon mitigative work that will collect data to characterize the sites prior to the commencement of vertical construction," the memo said. "The historic properties that are present within the APE will no longer be extant once mitigation is complete (i.e., qualifying characteristics will have been altered and the integrity diminished)."
The DoD has retained a full-time archaeologist at Camp Blaz to provide site checks, oversee coordination and execution of the archaeological mitigation measures in the Programmatic Agreement and to provide quality control.