As many construction sectors remain stuck in the mud of hard economic times, the military industry in California is marching along with its share of new projects and renovations.

Naval Based

“The military has definitely picked-up” says Dave Roach, senior vice president for San Diego-based Barnhart Balfour Beatty.

Roach, whose company currently has 10 projects underway with the Navy, worth about $200 million, says that while Barnhart’s other work has slowed, it has focused on military work, which makes up about 50% of the firm’s current output.

“That’s what is nice about being diversified,” Roach says. “While working with K-12s, universities and cities, we’ve always had some military work going.”

David Roach

Roach says that former company head Douglas Barnhart was a Navy engineer who kept a good working relationship with the Army Corps of Engineers when he became a civilian. “And in his 25 years with [Barnhart] he made sure we always had Navy projects,” Roach adds.

Highlights of the company’s current military work include a $28-million renovation of bachelor enlisted quarters (BEQs) funded with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money, a new $8.6-million training facility for special operations forces, and two new child-development centers costing about $10 million.

Located at Naval Base Coronado in San Diego, the design-build child centers broke ground last month and were designed by San Diego-based Roesling Nakamura Terada Architects. One facility will accommodate 112 children and is located at Coronado’s Naval Amphibious Base. The other will handle 174 children and be built at Naval Air Station North Island.

Roach says the North Island facility is on a space-constrained site.

“The Navy had a [child care] project on-going and decided to build this one and attach it, and then while we...