PPB's new structure ready for artisans

July 27, 2020

Production Plant Barstow, Marine Depot Maintenance Command, has expanded its facilities to include a new space for overhaul and repair of military vehicles on the Yermo Annex aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California. 

The new structure is adjacent to the massive Building 573 and is structurally similar to that existing main crane way. “It will give us the capabilities of quickly adjusting to workload changes,” said Jim Seifert, engineering technician with PPB. “There are two 40-ton overhead cranes, 32 bays and 16 jib cranes, as well as shop air, power, and exhaust at each bay. There will also be various presses, grinders, blast cabinets and other shop equipment within the building.”

“Each bay can have between two and four mechanics working at a time, so up to 128 tradesman, eight leaders, four supervisors and branch heads as needed,” said Alicia Florez, supervising mechanical engineer at PPB.

One of the goals with this new facility was to care for and protect the artisans. Much of their current workload is done outside, under sunshades with extreme heat and windy conditions to contend with.

“This facility will allow us to move our artisans inside of a facility to perform their function protected from the harsh elements of the desert…” Jim Seifert, PPB engineering technician

“The extreme conditions in the Mojave Desert can be hard on the work force and the equipment,” Florez said. “Also, there is a lot of movement of equipment and materials that will be greatly reduced as we will have cranes and necessary utilities immediately on hand for the mechanics to use. This will save a lot of production time and can help us meet schedules and while providing a much safer environment for our most valuable assets, our work force.”

The structure was initially listed on the five-year build plan back in 2012 as a fiscal year 2015 project. The project was awarded in April 2018 and construction started in November 2018 with a completion date scheduled for July 2020.

“Mortenson is the prime contractor awarded this particular project and we have worked great together as a team,” Seifert said. “Initial ‘design and changes’ are a huge effort in any project this size, but throughout the project there are many changes that have to be coordinated and agreed on by the contractor, MDMC, Facilities Engineering and Acquisitions Division, Naval Facilities Engineering Command and other organizations. It’s an ongoing process and requires close coordination by everyone involved.”

Initial cost estimation for the structure was $25.7 million, but the award amount was $20.8 million. Final completion cost is $21.9 million due to some changes in scope and upgrades.

“This project started with a requirement and a vision,” Florez said. “Working with MCLB Barstow and NAVFAC Southwest, we were able to thoroughly explain our need through the Military Construction process and received project approval from Congress to fund this new construction. Numerous meetings, site visits, and design reviews were very important pieces in finalizing the design of this new facility.”

Building Progress Photo by Laurie Pearson

Upon completion of the design, it has taken a little over a year and a half to construct the facility from the ground up, including the installation of smaller production equipment that will be used by the artisans who will occupy the facility.

“Our artisans are our most important resource,” Seifert explained. “Without them, we would not be able to meet our mission of providing depot level repair. This facility will allow us to move our artisans inside of a facility to perform their function protected from the harsh elements of the desert and with all of the tools readily available, to include work benches, utilities, cranes, and more.”

The previous configuration of the space was very constrained and limited what they could do, as well as how quickly the work could be completed.

“All of that has changed with this new construction,” Florez said. “A benefit of this facility is the flexibility in the configuration. The open floor plan, controlled environment, and crane availability allows us to accommodate an array of different types of workload.”

Although the official celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols and delays, the artisans are slotted to moving into the facility and beginning operations starting within the next month.