Yokosuka’s dual building projects call for patience
Stars and Stripes August 24, 2006
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The commissary/Navy Exchange area is the busiest on Yokosuka Naval Base, which makes it a great spot to plunk the new Community Support Center.
But its popularity also makes it one of the most difficult spots to do huge construction projects, said Muneaki Nakayama, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Japan District architectural engineer.
“Everyone gathers here. That’s good, but we have to make a lot of apologies for the noise and the traffic access,” Nakayama said. “It requires some patience.”
Two major construction projects are under way there simultaneously: building a four-story community center and renovating the Navy Exchange.
The base’s Chapel of Hope annex was demolished this summer to make room for the support center. It will house under one roof the base library, Red Cross, Navy Marine Corps Relief Society, and Education and Family Service Center.
“Before, you had to go to different buildings for everything,” Nakayama said. “Soon it will be consolidated.”
The Yokohama Defense Facilities Administration Bureau is funding the project and has allocated $11 million to date. Nakayama estimates the final price tag will be about $36 million.
Demolition is complete and construction begins this October, he said. He added that the community center is slated to open in 2008 but it might happen later.
Across the street, customers squeeze through a narrow passageway that routes them between the commissary and the Navy Exchange. On the other side of the high fence is a 15-foot hole: a place for the elevator that will take customers to the new children’s clothing area in the NEX.
About 8,000 feet of second-floor space is being renovated atop “Home Accents” from office to retail space. According to an NEX manager who didn’t want his name published, the store currently is “underspaced.” Moving the children’s clothing section across the street will make the men’s and women’s departments less cramped, he said. A canopy will connect the two and an elevator will take customers to the second floor. NEX is paying for the $2.6 million renovation and plans to complete the project by January.
The retail store should be open before the holidays, said Lt. j.g. Bob Olson, the project manager.
The NEX and commissary’s $1.68 million heating and air conditioning repair also should be wrapped up soon, said Yasuko Nakamura, spokeswoman, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Far East.