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New Naval Training Building Transforms Recruits   Into Sailors

*(photos and descriptions by courtesy of the James McHugh Construction Company)

 

  Interactive ship module tests sailors under high-tech fire. One-of-a-Kind. Battle Stations 21 project is designed to provide realistic training.

    

   Quietly rising under the radar and chaff of today's star architects and signature structures is a revolutionary ship-shaped building within a building that marks the beginning of a new genre of naval military training. Built around technology, theatrics and special effects, the project is the product of imaginative teamwork.

marine construcion project The USS Trayer is firmly anchored. It is housed deep within a 156,896-sq-ft steel-framed two-story multi-use administrative structure. When completed, it will be a 210-ft long three-deck replica of a guided missile destroyer that can accommodate up to 352 recruits. It will sit in water and be tied up at Pier 8, part of a mock waterfront. Materials used in the ship will have to stand up to repeated disasters. The building also complies with anti-terrorism force.

navy door installation

Scenic elements, such as hatches, watertight doors, lifeboats, bits and chocks are either replicated or salvaged from decommissioned ships. Stage Set Elements of Trayer's interior look like the real thing.

navy shipbuildiing

The Trayer basically is a three-story steel-framed building, with a twist. Most floors are epoxy-coated concrete with some portions tilted for realism. "It has to look and feel like a ship," says Roxanne M. Knapp, Wight architect. "The hull is set at a 7 angle, which skewed the building process. And we had to compress a 500-ft-long ship into one-half scale without changing the scale vertically."

  

 

Dubbed Battle Stations 21, the $82.5-million facility now under construction at the U.S. Navy's Great Lakes Naval Station, North Chicago, will be the ultimate in naval warfare simulation. When operational in the summer of 2007, it will test all recruits one week before graduation to active service in 16 realistic scenarios based on historic naval events as the training ship "travels" between two ports.

Recruits will face a realistic and demanding 12-hour test of their skills. Special effects and equipment will bring to life shipboard scenarios ranging from mundane to perilous. These include line handling and loading stores, but also fire, flooding and mass casualties.

The new training facility brings together activities that had been developed and spread out over four buildings since 1997. "We needed more realism for better training," says Capt. Michael Moran, training center commanding officer.

The Trayer holds eight berthing compartments and is melded into a more traditional three-story, 233-ft long by 90-ft deep steel-frame training building clad in insulated precast concrete panels. The entire training complex is housed in a giant bump-out on the south side of the administration building.

Design and construction challenges pushed a contractor-led design-build team. During the design phase, the team had to validate the ship's capacity of having 352 recruits go through the exercise in 12 hours. "We plotted 352 movements minute by minute on a spreadsheet and electronically. By the time we finished, we knew we could complete the session in the time allotted," says Sheridan.

Few projects have integrated this degree of high-tech pyrotechnics and special effects. "We have multiple roles," says Hilde A. Varah, GlobalSim program manager. "Over 12 years, we have done a number of training projects for the Navy and Coast Guard and delivered at least 88 crane trainer systems and 30 to 40 driver training systems. But Battle Stations is a bigger version with special effects," she says. The firm received about $4.2 million for both contracts.

 

 

*(photos and descriptions by courtesy of the James McHugh Construction Company)
 

ship navy