Marines dole out another contract for new barracks at Parris Island

A North Carolina contractor is the latest company to reap the rewards of a construction boom at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, as the base rushes to upgrade aging facilities and infrastructure to keep up with the Corps' rapid growth.

Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. of Raleigh, N.C., received a $15.6 million contract last week from Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast in Jacksonville, Fla. The company will build open-bay barracks at Parris Island. NAVFAC Southeast oversees construction projects at all Navy and Marine Corps installation in seven Southern states, including South Carolina.

Whiting-Turner will build and design the barracks, a battalion first aid station, parking, site improvements and utilities, said Sue Brink, spokeswoman for NAVFAC Southeast. Attempts to reach Whiting-Turner for commentwere unsuccessful.

The project is expected to be completed by December 2010, Brink said.

Lt. Cmdr. Ronald Jenkins, in charge of NAVFAC construction, said the barracks will helpthe depothandle the influx of recruits expected to arrive at Parris Island as the Corps attempts to grow its force to from 180,000 Marines to 202,000 Marines by 2011.All would-be Marines recruited east of the Mississippi River and all female recruits train at Parris Island.

The Navy already doledmore than $78 million to Walton Construction of New Orleans to build a barracks complex for the 3rd Recruit Battallion, a unit now housed in some of the depot's oldest facilities. Work on that facility began earlier this year, and the first two barracks are expected to be completed by September 2010, according to Walton.

Parris Island also is the site of at least six other projects, including a $2.9 million renovation to Traditions, a restaurant in the former Officer's Club; the creation of a $680,000 campsite near Elliot's Beach; and $10 million in energy-efficency and infrastructure improvements funded by federal stimulus dollars.