New, improved Camp H.M. Smith is underway

9 Nov 2006 | Pfc. Ethan Hoaldridge

Millions of dollars worth of construction projects are coming soon to U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific as part of an ongoing process to repair and eventually replace what used to be a World War II hospital.

Many of the buildings currently being used by MAFORPAC were built in the 1940s, and now have termite problems, asbestos, structural weaknesses or foundation problems, according to Edmund Urabe, a general engineer for Marine Corps Bases Hawaii facilities.

The process is divided into stages. First, construction crews are repairing older buildings for current and near-future missions. Eventually, the headquarters building will be demolished, making way for a whole new facility, according to Urabe.

Most recently, a new medical and dental clinic was completed as part of the first phase, which was just the start of many facility improvements to the base here.

The former clinic is scheduled for demolition at the end of December. Once that is completed, a $6.2 million contract will begin the construction of a new federal fire station.

The current fire station was built after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, as a temporary fix to meet immediate antiterrorism and force protection requirements.

However, the building does not meet the needs of the fire department. The garage’s ceiling does not provide the necessary clearance for the newer fire trucks.

The new, permanent facility will be specifically tailored to house all staff and fire trucks, as well as all necessary office space.

Other immediate changes around the base include the demolition of the older wooden buildings behind the main headquarters building. They will be demolished along with the bases’ only gas station and a pedestrian bridge used to access remote parking lots.

San Construction of Hawaii was recently awarded the $1.4 million contract to demolish these structures.

After much planning and approval processes, the old buildings are being demolished or repaired, and new facilities are being erected.

“We’re in an old hospital built in the 1940s that became an administrative building,” said Urabe. “In the next year, the appearance of Camp Smith will be much different, with nice new things and less buildings.

“Our ultimate goal -- the master plan -- is to build a new headquarters facility, have a new (Marine Corps Community Services) building, and many other new constructions to replace the current, old and damaged facilities.”

In addition to the headquarters building, the construction of a new bachelor enlisted barracks is scheduled to begin in 2009. There are also plans for a new gas station, base gym and more parking.

“The whole process of getting construction projects approved is long and tedious, but, finally, the plans are going through, contractors are bidding for contracts and the funding is being provided,” said Urabe.

Headquarters Marine Corps