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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 13, 2007

Security center will add 700 jobs

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Navy has awarded a $318 million contract to Shaw-Dick Pacific LLC of Honolulu to construct a new National Security Agency intelligence-gathering operations center in Wahiawa, a project that should bring hundreds of new jobs to the area.

The contract is the largest ever awarded to the Hawai'i contractor. More than 500 workers will be needed to build the project and Shaw-Dick Pacific will hire 40 Hawai'i subcontractors for the job, said Gerry Majkut, vice president and general manager of Dick Pacific.

"If they create jobs and bring income into the area, I'm in favor of it," said Jack Kampfer, past-president of the Wahiawa Community and Business Association.

Construction is expected to begin early this summer and be completed by September 2010.

The new center will replace the Kunia Regional Security Operations Center, an underground facility built in a World War II-era aircraft assembly plant. The Kunia facility employs about 2,100, and another 700 military and civilian jobs are expected to be added once the new complex is completed.

The NSA/Central Security Service Hawai'i facility will be built at the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific, or NCTAMS PAC, adjacent to Whitmore Village. The facility will be constructed at the former site of the circular antenna, popularly known as the "elephant cage."

A $176 million contract was awarded yesterday to Shaw-Dick Pacific, an affiliate of Dick Pacific Construction. An additional $142 million in funding is expected upon approval of the 2008 military construction appropriation bill, bringing the project to $318 million.

"Dick Pacific is pleased to have been awarded a project of this importance and looks forward to working immediately with the Navy," Majkut said.

Kampfer said the expansion of the facility and the additional jobs it will bring should have a positive impact on businesses in the Wahiawa area.

The 250,000-square-foot complex will be constructed on a 70-acre site at NCTAMS PAC and includes a two-story operations and data center. The building will house a command center, operations briefing center, data analysis section, mission planning areas, administrative offices and video-teleconferencing rooms.

Several support buildings, a warehouse and visitors control center also are part of the plans. A new 8,000-foot roadway to connect the facility to Whitmore Avenue will be constructed, but will not be open to the public.

Don Rochon, spokesman for Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific at Pearl Harbor, said the road is expected to alleviate congestion on existing roadways in the community. He said the facility should be a plus for Wahiawa and the state.

"It's going to improve operational efficiency and maximize the use of existing Navy property," Rochon said. "It will allow the activity to remain in Hawai'i."

The center performs intelligence gathering and analysis missions in support of U.S. interests in the Pacific, Far East, South and Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean.

The $318 million project comes at a time when the Hawai'i construction industry is seeing an unexpected boom in nonresidential building.

A report by the University of Hawai'i Economic Research Organization said a surge in nonresidential building permits late last year is resulting in $500 million in additional construction work. The report forecast construction activity to increase by 4.4 percent this year to $6.6 billion, and construction employment to rise by 3 percent to 36,930 jobs.

Reach Curtis Lum at culum@honoluluadvertiser.com.