By A.A. “Cotton” Puryear
The Virginia National Guard will broke ground on its new state headquarters facility on Aug. 16 at Defense Supply Center Richmond in North Chesterfield. The 102,000 square foot facility will be built on a 13.6-acre site in the northern section of DSCR, cost approximately $30 million and construction should be completed by February 2018. It will provide workspace for the Adjutant General of Virginia, the Virginia National Guard Joint Staff and Air National Guard Staff currently located at Mullins Readiness Center in Sandston.
“In the more than 409-year history of the Virginia National Guard, this is the first time we are building a new structure to serve as our headquarters, and we are incredibly excited to move into this next phase of the project,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. “This has been a team effort, moved forward by many different state and federal entities. The DSCR staff has been supportive throughout the process, and their implementation of the north post area development plan provided us with a warm welcome to the base, and we know this is going to be a rewarding partnership in the years to come.”
Williams said the support of multiple stakeholders, including National Guard Bureau, the Virginia Bureau of Capital Outlay Management, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Virginia Department of Real Estate Services, added value and helped move the process along.
“I also want to extend a special thanks to our own facilities management team for burning the midnight oil and working with these multiple agencies and the design and construction contractors to develop a cost-effective design for the facility and keeping it on track,” Williams said.
The current state headquarters in Sandston houses the adjutant general and his senior staff, as well full-time federal and state employees and traditional Soldiers and Airmen of Virginia National Guard Joint Staff and Air National Guard staff. The readiness center also houses the Joint Operations Center that manages Virginia National Guard operations during routine and emergency response operations. The Virginia Army National Guard staff is located at Fort Pickett near Blackstone, and the Virginia Defense Force staff is located at Waller Depot in Richmond.
The Virginia National Guard Joint Staff provides support for the entire state in the areas of operations, human resources, family programs, sustainment and logistics, and public affairs.
“We are excited to have the Virginia National Guard headquarters facility and team come to the installation and be a part of the joint Department of Defense activities located on Defense Supply Center Richmond,” said DLA Aviation Commander, Air Force Brig. Gen. Allan Day. “The addition of their headquarters will significantly increase the number of the Guard personnel on center. We look forward to the larger footprint they will bring to our installation and the opportunities for partnership that the Guard’s presence brings to us both.”
The Virginia National Guard currently has several activities and units already on DSCR, including the U.S. Property and Fiscal Office Supply Support Activity, which includes the Guard’s Central Issue Facility, the Combined Support Maintenance Shop, and Company B, 429th Brigade Support Battalion, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The current facility in Sandston only provides 58 percent of the authorized space for a state headquarters, and the new facility increases available space to 98 percent, explained Lt. Col. Charlton Dunn, the Virginia National Guard construction and facilities management officer.
The funding for the state headquarters is predominantly federal, with the Department of Military Affairs contributing approximately $471,000 of its own state funds to provide space for its employees, Dunn said. The Virginia Air National Guard is providing approximately $1.02 million for the Air Guard staff, with the remaining funds to be provided by the Virginia Army National Guard.
The new facility will be built in compliance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver requirements and will make use of ground-source heat pumps, photovoltaic solar panels, and natural gas to create an energy efficient building now and for future generations of employees, Dunn said. This project utilizes Construction Manager at Risk, Building Information Modeling, and a commissioning agent to ensure the best product at appropriate initial and life-cycle costs within existing time constraints.