Thor Kamban Biberman |  San Diego Source, The Daily Transcript

Billions of dollars worth of projects are planned at Camp Pendleton within the next few years, with bachelor enlisted and family housing leading the way.
Navy Commander Marshall Sykes, civil engineer and public works officer, said while he loves being busy, coordinating all these projects is a huge challenge.
“We’re having fun, but it’s an uphill battle to get all the planned projects built,” Sykes said.
Sykes explained that the bachelor enlisted housing of the past had three beds crammed into each room.
The new spaces are being constructed to accommodate no more than two persons each.
“Each (contract) package has 800 rooms. That’s four buildings with 200 rooms in each,” Sykes said.
All told, $877 million in eight contracts representing 6,500 rooms and 13,000 beds will have led to construction between fiscal years 2007 and 2011.
Two of these contracts were awarded in the 2007 fiscal year, one will be awarded in FY 2008 and five will be awarded in FY 2009.
For those who aren’t single, something on the order of 7,000 new housing units have been created on the base under Camp Pendleton’s Family Housing Program within the past five years.
“We have another 1,200 units planned and 924 of those have been programmed for funding,” Sykes said, adding that the cost of this housing plan will also be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Sykes explained that unlike the bachelor enlisted quarters, the family housing is constructed with public/private partnerships.
The family housing (including the more than 700 newly-constructed units in the De Luz area of Camp Pendleton) is being built by a joint venture of El Paso-based Hunt Building Co., Dallas-based apartment builder Lincoln Property Co. and Clark Realty of Virginia.
Clark is a sister company of Clark Construction that was a co-builder of Petco Park. Lincoln has developed apartment units in San Diego County.
The homes and apartment units are being constructed as part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI), that allows private sector real estate developers, builders and property managers to partner with the Department of Defense.
Hunt has worked with the Department of Defense in the development of 24 MHPI projects totaling more than 32,000 units with project costs in excess of $5 billion.
There are plenty of other types of projects at Pendleton During the next two years, a new “Wounded Warrior” 100-room, 200-bed barracks will be created in about 62,000 square feet for injured soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“These will have larger, queen-sized beds and will have ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access,” Sykes added.
While housing and all the infrastructure necessary to support it is a major part of the Camp Pendleton picture, there are also hundreds of millions of dollars worth of other projects.
There may be the occasional roadblock, however.
The 125,000-acre, 250-square-mile base that prevents one giant megalopolis from Los Angeles to San Diego, must not only balance its growth within a defense budget, but must do so while preserving 18 endangered species.
“We work closely with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on this,” Sykes said.
Sykes said the good news for Pendleton is that most of the future development areas are not in sensitive habitat areas.
A big question mark for Pendleton is what will happen with the proposed Route 241 toll road that would cut across the base between Oso Parkway in Rancho Santa Margarita to Basilone Road at Interstate 5 in San Onofre.
The California Coastal Commission has rejected the plan, which has since been appealed to the Commerce Department. A ruling is expected by this fall.
Camp Pendleton officials have elected to take a neutral position on the proposal.
In the meantime, Pendleton has an array of projects that have nothing to do with roads or long-term housing.
One of those is a $14 million design/build project for a new lodge (photo on page 1B). RJC Architects, a local architecture and planning company, is building the facility in conjunction with Bonsall-based RQ Construction.
The project will feature 69 ocean view rooms and suites, a landscaped courtyard and children’s play and picnic areas in the heart of Camp Pendleton.
The new 50,662-square-foot, four-story lodge will be adjacent to the existing South Mesa Club.
Construction of the project, which will be the newest of the Inns of the Corps managed by Marine Corps Community Services, is expected to begin in July with completion slated for June 2009.
RQ Construction was also recently awarded a $54.5 million contract to design/build the Marine Corps Special Operations Command Headquarters (MARSOC).
The eventual six-building, 223,000-square-foot complex will include such functions as a supply warehouse, an academic facility and an armory among other uses. The project is slated for completion in 2010.
Sykes explained that the base, with the help of RQ Construction and other contractors, is in the midst of a multi-year process to upgrade the base’s multiple armories to 21st century standards.
“Weapons have gotten much more sophisticated. Old armories can’t handle this equipment,” Sykes said.
In addition, RQ Construction is developing a $14.8 million to design and build a communications and electronics repair building. That complex is to be completed in May 2009.
Finally, the San Diego office of Soltek Pacific Construction is currently building a planned $6.1 million, 25,000-square-foot physical education facility.
Construction includes spaces for racquetball and basketball courts with wood floors, telescoping bleachers, aerobics, weight and cardiovascular training areas, restrooms, lockers, showers, saunas, equipment storage, laundry and administrative support areas.
The physical education facility is slated for completion in June 2009.