Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany --
The Marine Corps Exchange at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., will soon undergo a $5M renovation that represents the first upgrade to the facility since it was built in the mid-1970s.
It means the MCX will suspend operations in the current facility and relocate four “main” businesses for a six month period, projected from March 2009 and ending in September.
“The only part of the current structure that will remain is the shell of the building,” said George Mettrick, retail head, Marine Corps Exchange, Marine Corps Community Services, MCLB Albany.
“This project ties into Headquarters Marine Corps’ one- box concept for our customers, with everything under one roof,” he continued.
Competition for limited MCCS construction funding is keen and although the MCLB Albany project was approved two years ago, it is just now nearing the start of construction.
“All 16 of the other MCCS operations in the Marine Corps compete for funding, and our project was approved in 2006 for the 2008 MCCS fiscal year,” said Dick French, director, Marine Corps Community Services, MCLB Albany.
“When projects are considered for funding, the amount of money available is taken into consideration as well as which proposal has the greatest need,” he added.
While large Marine Corps installations compete with smaller command such as MCLB Albany, the money doesn’t always go to the largest commands.
“The final decisions are made by the MCCS board of directors at Headquarters Marine Corps,” said French.
When the MCX, and other projects are completed, shoppers will see a more efficient and shopper-friendly environment at MCCS facilities here.
“The MCX renovation is part of a larger initiative to improve the overall quality of our MCCS facilities and programs. The renovation will result in better space utilization, reduced overhead and we’ll see new furnishings and new technology that will improve the shopping experience for active and retired servicemembers and their families,” said Col. C.N. Haliday, commanding officer, MCLB Albany.
When the work begins, plans call for the current gas station facility to be moved to the front of the remodeled Exchange, the current convenience store will be relocated to the “old” convenience store location, Building 7531, which is the current gas station. The dry cleaners and the Subway restaurant will remain intact in their current locations.
Also, the package store will be relocated to a modular building in front of the current gas station and the barber shop and a uniform shop will be relocated in modular units adjacent to the current exchange.
“General merchandise won’t be available during renovations. We’ll have athletic shoes available in the uniform shop, we will still be able to special order firearms, and we’ll still have services that we now have, such as Western Union and United Parcel Service, available at the convenience store,” Mettrick said.
Soft lines, men’s and ladies clothes, kid’s clothes, homestore and traditional shoes will not be available during the remodeling.
Everyone involved in the project agreed to fast track status for it, meaning the contractor will have access to the full building from the first day and can complete it quicker and spend more money on lasting improvements instead of on temporary walls and other expenses associated with completing the project one section at a time, base officials said.
Due to a hiring freeze that’s been in effect at the MCX in anticipation of the renovation project, the current workforce has been reduced to 25 and when the work begins, staffing requirements will be approximately 50 percent less.
“We’ve tried to do it through attrition and turnover, and we want anyone who is furloughed to understand the benefits out there for them and they’ll be tops on the list for rehiring,” added Mettrick.
The MCX project isn’t the only construction project planned here next year.
“Renovation of the base bowling alley is planned to begin in January, plus a renovation for the kitchen area at the base restaurant, both costing approximately $400,000 is also expected. So, I’m happy that enough people at Headquarters Marine Corps make sure all Marines are taken care of, not just the large commands,” said French.