We have been working with our NAVFAC Facility Management Specialist (FMS), Keith Moss, on several facility projects since he came into the position a couple years ago. It always takes time to establish a relationship with our FMS and to build understanding of our unique needs; we’re not just another office building on base, we’re a museum, with museum standards to uphold. I consider ourselves high-maintenance, but I’m not afraid to be the squeaky wheel and ask for everything we need. Despite being the squeaky wheel, things move S.L.O.W. in the Navy facilities world. There are several factors that play into this, largely funding. We can have a whole list of projects that we need funding for, and our FMS can “put them on the list” of Naval Base Kitsap projects that need to be funded, but they don’t happen until they are chosen by the Commanding Officer to be funded. There are mission requirements and other fleet readiness projects that will have priority, as well as emergency-level projects. It’s an understandable process, but unfortunately, a slow-moving one.
Some of the bigger projects we have on the Naval Base Kitsap list to be funded are below. Due to other emergent projects, these could move further down the timeline:
FY 2023
    1. Adding HVAC components to the artifact Storage Area for better artifact preservation.
FY 2024
    1. Installing a new roll-up door in the artifact Storage Area for better access.
    2. Upgrading restrooms for ADA compliance.
    3. Replacing lobby and partial exhibit gallery carpet.
    4. Soundproofing the basement HVAC room. We are also awaiting an estimate from a local contractor for this work. If we are able to pay outright, we can get this work done sooner.
FY 2025
    1. Resurfacing the auditorium floor.
    2. Modernizing elevator controls.
    3. Installing humidity controls in the “tower” section of the building (for artifact preservation & overall system efficiency).
We also have a list of what are called “self-help” projects. These are projects that the local Seabees can handle, but they have been undergoing a restructuring of how they process projects, so unfortunately, we have not seen any projects on our list come to fruition. Therefore, we have hired local contractors to install double doors into the Giving Voice tunnel. Additional “self-help” projects that we may end up executing using a local contractor are:
    1. Relocating the shop area to a different corner of the artifact Storage Area.
    2. Improving lighting on the Education Level.
    3. Placing a concrete slab on the west side of the building for emergency egress.
Two projects outside the aforementioned work are:
    1. $40,000 from the museum’s operating budget has been allocated to NAVFAC NW to upgrade the museum’s alarm system. This upgrade from the antiquated system to the newer system will put the museum in line with the rest of Naval Base Kitsap buildings. Once the new system is online, the NBK alarm shop will be able to make any repairs should parts fail. Work began in September and should be completed in October.
    2. Collections Manager Beth Sanders is working with Keith Moss on a technical design package to build a structure over Trieste II and DSRV Mystic. The NAVFAC design team has conducted the foundation load calculation and should be working on a deliverable. The deliverable will provide us with details on what this project will require.
In regards to facility work orders for items like lights out, sinks not working, or replacing ceiling tiles, these go to the base maintenance contractor, Jacobs, or Skookum, which handles lightbulbs and janitorial-type issues. There are three levels of tickets: routine, urgent, and emergency. Most of our tickets are routine, meaning the contractor has 30 days to respond. Urgent tickets are five days, and emergencies are one hour, once approved. We almost always have someone respond to an emergency on time. The problems lie with the routine tickets which often get pushed aside by the contractor, due to emergencies and limited staffing. Many of our routine tickets go beyond the 30-day mark. After that, it is up to me to contact the work scheduler to try to initiate the work to get done. It is often difficult to get a hold of the schedulers, and even with multiple emails and voicemails, we are still sitting on some tickets that I submitted many months ago. Broadly speaking, the schedulers and craftsmen are doing their best to respond to our tickets, but the problem seems to lie with the upper management. So when you see that the sink is still out, or a XXXX, rest assured, I am aware, and I am also trying to get these things fixed. It’s simply a laborious process that I will always be working on. Please don’t hesitate to point out any facility concerns you see. Thank you for being my extra eyes and ears!–Olivia Wilson, Operations Manager