CL breaks ground on 13th MILCON of Earthquake Recovery Program

CHINA LAKE – Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Officer in Charge of Construction (OICC) China Lake hosted its ninth groundbreaking ceremony on November 8, for the $220 million Michelson Laboratory Complex aboard Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) China Lake, as part of the $2.7 billion Earthquake Recovery Program.

The Michelson Laboratory Complex project encompasses the replacement of three industrial and testing facilities and the restoration and modernization of two of the eight wings that make up Michelson Laboratory. In all, over 188,000 square feet of new, state of the art, development, testing and production facilities and 50,000 square feet of restored and modernized work spaces will support the continued advancement of weapons research aboard NAWS China Lake. The estimated move- in date of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (NAWCWD) staff into the Michelson Laboratory Complex is fall 2023 and the restoration and modernization of the two wings is expected to be completed in summer 2025.

OICC China Lake Construction Manager Lt J.G. Ramya Shah served as the master of ceremonies and provided welcoming remarks before introducing the speakers for the ceremony: RQ Construction Executive Kevin Kurz, NAWCWD Deputy Technical Director Brad Harlow and OICC China Lake’s Commanding Officer Capt. Laurie Scott.

“The existing facilities were originally built in the mid-1940’s have been upgraded and consolidated over the years to meet the demands of new threats from around the globe. The new consortium of state-of-the-art facilities will be built to not only address current threats but also future threats from those who wish to do us harm,” said OICC China Lake Commanding Officer Capt. Laurie Scott. “We are seeing tremendous success in the execution of this program due to the collective team of NAVFAC, NAWCWD, NAWS China Lake and Jacobs A/E who brought their A+ game in responding to the July 2019 earthquakes.”

“The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division is looking forward to this new complex, but more importantly we’re excited about the new capabilities inside this complex that will be used by the dedicated and innovative people of NAWCWD who support this critical mission,” said Brad Harlow.

“We here at RQ have a culture of excellence and we are committed as a collective team to creating a best built environment, as we come together with the OICC and the collective China Lake team to integrate as one, where we can share in the diversity and skills and accomplish the common goal of restoring and advancing the new Michelson Lab.’ said Kevin Kurz.

NAWS China Lake is located in the Western Mojave Desert region of California, approximately 150 miles north of Los Angeles. China Lake’s mission is to support the Navy’s RDT&E missions to provide cutting-edge weapons systems to the warfighter. The installation is the Navy’s largest single landholding. In total, its two ranges and main site cover more than 1.1 million acres, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island.

OICC China Lake was established in August 2020 to provide engineering, acquisition, and execution oversight for military construction and repair projects caused by the devastating damage from the 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquakes that occurred on July 4 and 5, 2019.

Navy photo: Participants in the ceremonial wallbreaking for the thirteenth construction project of the $2.7B MILCON Earthquake Recovery Program to build the Michelson Laboratory Complex on Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake on November 8., (L-R, RQ Construction Kevin Kurz, Construction Executive, Ridgecrest Council Member Solomon Rajaratnam, OICC China Lake Commanding Officer Capt. Laurie Scott and NAWCWD Deputy Technical Director Brad Harlow.)

Story First Published: 2021-11-26