How new space for Washington's national guardsmen went from groundbreaking to done in just 14 months
The Washington National Guard needed a new "readiness center" facility to provide space for training, administration and material storage for its national guardsmen. Once the National Guard identified the need, the process to receive federal and state funding began in 2011. In 2012, the project was approved to begin in 2020, with the first step to solicit the project for bids from prospective construction contractors.
The Tri-Cities area was identified as an ideal location for the new readiness center based on its growing population and its aging readiness center in nearby Pasco, Washington. The National Guard purchased a 40-acre site in Richland for the project in 2017, setting aside about 10 acres for the readiness center uses and leaving the rest of the site available for other state projects.
The Washington Military Department then entered into an Interagency Agreement with DES to provide contracting and project management services. DES' Design-Build team, including Project Manager Jeff Gonzalez, got to work.
With a limited timeline and budget, DES brought together a general contractor and architecture team, including Fowler General Construction and TVA Architecture. DES provided start-to-finish project management support for the duration of the design-build process to realize the National Guard’s vision for the readiness center. At a cost of $14.2 million, the space was planned to provide ample training, storage, classroom, common areas and office space for a company of soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment.
This facility is also the first Washington National Guard facility to meet a LEED Gold rating for environmental considerations and green cost saving measures. LEED certified buildings save money, improve efficiency, lower carbon emissions and create healthier places for people. They are a critical part of addressing climate change and meeting environmental, social and governance goals, enhancing resilience, and supporting more equitable communities.
“In my 15+ years in project management, this is one of the top projects I have been involved in.”—Brad Olson, Construction Project Manager, Washington Military Department
In just 14 months, the readiness center moved from groundbreaking to completion. Now the building is on track to meet the environmental and cost-savings requirements for a LEED Gold rating. LEED-certified buildings save money, improve efficiency, lower carbon emissions and create healthier places for people.
At its new location, the center serves as the home base for a National Guard unit, allowing units to achieve proficiency in required training tasks, improve readiness, and improve soldier morale. The readiness center also provides a space for community activities and a safe haven during emergencies.
“Seeing the building in person, it is almost exactly the vision we had when we started designing this," said Lieutenant Colonel Bill Cooper, commander of the 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment. "Soldiers could see how it all flowed and how the [Military Department] delivered us a new quality building to train at.”
"This was a total team approach," said DES Project Manager Jeff Gonzalez. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to be part of it."