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News | July 23, 2020

World War II-era warehouse at Richmond depot to get major overhaul

By Vince Little US Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Defense Logistics Agency are teaming up on a project to restore a Defense Supply Center Richmond warehouse built in 1942.

Norfolk District has awarded an $8.1 million contract to Ashford Leebcor Enterprises III – a Williamsburg-based firm – for renovation of Building 11, a nearly 270,000-square-foot facility that stores bulk material, parachutes and energy-dissipating pads, which are used to absorb and distribute the shock airdropped loads sustain upon landing.

The general-purpose warehouse also contains DLA Distribution Richmond’s box shop for crate and wooden box fabrication.

Construction is expected to begin by September and should be completed in about a year, USACE officials said.

DLA Distribution Richmond officials say critical facility repairs are needed to make it functional and fully operational with updated safety standards. The building is part of the installation’s historic district and among the few remaining warehouses of its type and construction at DSCR.

The renovation will repair the roof and update electrical and fire suppression, while maintaining the warehouse’s historic look and feel, installation officials added.

DLA Distribution Richmond has restricted operations in some Warehouse 11 bays as the environment is not conducive to proper material protection or the safety of personnel working in those spaces.

Facility usage is currently limited due to a degraded fire-suppression system, said Niklas Hallberg, Norfolk District project manager. The roof was last replaced 75 years ago.

“Upgrades to a facility this age are a necessity to maintain efficient operations,” he added, “so a large renovation – rather than continuing with smaller repairs – was deemed necessary.”

Hallberg said restoration work will bring Warehouse 11 up to modern code for improved safety with an upgraded fire-suppression system; enhance working conditions with new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning; and add energy savings for DSCR with contemporary lighting and a reflective roof, among a host of other improvements.

DLA Distribution Richmond Director John Pearson said the installation’s partnership with USACE is vital to the project.

“Using the Army Corps of Engineers helps ensure that the design and execution of the project meets current federal and state environmental, historical and safety guidance while safeguarding the stewardship of tax dollars by competing projects to provide the best value for the taxpayer,” he said.

“DLA Distribution Richmond is looking forward to having all storage-capabilities resources back online after the renovation, providing not only flexibility for its current mission, but the possibility of serving other DOD partners in need of our services.”

The contract award was an important step for a key Norfolk District stakeholder in DLA and Defense Supply Center Richmond, Hallberg said.

“When the district delivers high-quality projects, on time and within budget, DLA is able to operate effectively and serve the DOD,” he added. “The current condition and age of Warehouse 11 is such that operations are limited and improvements are necessary for DLA DSCR to complete its mission.”

Norfolk District provides innovative engineering solutions – in collaboration with partners – to deliver water resources, military, interagency, environmental and disaster-response programs that make communities, the commonwealth of Virginia and nation a better place to work and live.

Editor's note: The original story can be viewed on the US Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District website.