Story by San Luciano Vera on 09/12/2018LOS ANGELES Col. Kim Colloton, South Pacific Division commander, went on a whirlwind tour of several Los Angeles District projects during a visit to the area Sept. 4-7.
Colloton, who took command of the Division in July, formerly commanded the LA District from July 2013 to July 2015. She also commanded the Albuquerque District from July 2008 to July 2010. Colloton previously served with the LA District as the High Desert Area Officer, which included a deployment to Iraq in 2003 with the South Pacific Division Forward Engineer Support Team.
"Personally, it's neat to see the growth of the employees, and what they are delivering is really incredible," Colloton said. "In just three years of having been gone from Los Angeles, we have facilities that have been built and turned over."
The group, accompanied by Col. Aaron Barta, LA District commander, and David Van Dorpe, District deputy engineer and chief of Programs and Project Management Division, toured a variety of projects showcasing a cross section of many of the District's efforts, including military construction at Fort Irwin and interagency work for partners in Veterans Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security.
Colloton first visited the Greater Los Angeles Health Care Systems' main facility, located in west Los Angeles. The Corps is partnering with the VA's Office of Construction and Facilities Management to design and construct a $1.8 billion project that would include an inpatient and one outpatient building, common utility plant, parking garage and various utility upgrades. Construction is scheduled to start in fiscal year 2022 and finish by FY 2030.
The tour also included visits to VA Long Beach and VA San Diego project sites.
Colloton emphasized the importance of transparent communication with partners, throughout the Corps team and the veteran community during her visit to the VA Long Beach site.
"Let's ensure we clearly communicate with the veteran community that construction work can sometimes be disruptive and what our team is doing to minimize that disruption," Colloton said. "The end result will be better facilities, so the VA can continue to deliver the best care to those who have given so much in service to our nation."
The $300-million VA Long Beach project consists of five phases. The first phase includes a behavioral and mental health facility and a 40-bed inpatient facility.
The VA San Diego project will deliver a new Spinal Cord Injury Center that will include 50 private inpatient rooms, three new clinics and an 800-car parking garage.
"This is a great project in support of our disabled veterans. We are excited to be able to advertise this soon," said Robert Klein, LA District VA program manager.
Brig. Gen. Glenn Goddard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers deputy director of Military Programs joined the tour for an update on the San Diego border infrastructure fence replacement project.
The leadership team met with the Custom and Border Protection to better understand their mission requirements and receive feedback on the project's progress.
"Our mission is to deliver these projects in support of national security and our partner agencies like the Department of Homeland Security," Colloton said. "No one organization can do this alone, so communication and teamwork is key to ensuring project success."
Colloton also visited the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, where completed military construction projects include a new hospital and water treatment plant.
The $211-million, 216,000-square-foot facility is the first DoD Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Platinum hospital, and the water treatment plant extends Fort Irwin's water supply for about 60 years.
"It's been a lot of visiting and a lot of catching up with people," Colloton said. "I look forward to making my way around the region in the first couple of months, so I can really take advantage of seeing firsthand what everybody is doing and then figure out ways I can bring our whole Division team to bear on helping us collectively deliver."
The trip also included a partnership meeting with Naval Facilities Engineering Command leadership. The Corps provides support to tenant organizations at Navy bases in multiple locations throughout the LA District area of operations.