The U.S. Marine Corps’ motto “semper fidelis”—always faithful—will have special meaning for Consigli Construction Co. crews during the next year, as they construct an expansion to the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, in Triangle, Va.
Opened in conjunction with the museum in 2006, the existing 23.3-acre memorial park provides a unique outdoor setting for visitors to remember and reflect on the accomplishments of the Marine Corps and individual Marines, with 40 memorials and more than a mile of wooded trails. The four-acre expansion, designed for the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation by Jacobs, will provide space for up to 22 additional memorials, including two 1,200-sq-ft grand memorials focused on honoring modern-day Marines.
Other features will include a new Memorial Pavilion, a space for more than 10,000 commemorative bricks to honor individual service members, a half-mile of new trail, and a new 72-ft-long footbridge. Consigli will also install a 44-ft-long medium-girder portable bridge often deployed in forward battle areas.
Construction recently got underway and the estimated completion date is set for October 2023.
Phil Brault, Consigli’s director of DC-area operations, says the project’s biggest challenges will be its close proximity to an occupied environment, and minimizing disruptions to both museum operations and the Memorial Park’s contemplative environment. Located near Marine Corps Base Quantico, the museum is one of Virginia’s top tourist attractions, with more than 500,000 visitors annually.
“We understand the emotional investment Marines and family members have in this museum, and want to be very careful with how we do things,” Brault says. “Though a lot of our work will take place in a wooded area adjacent to the existing park, we’ll still have to be careful when it comes to noise and logistics.”
Consigli will also strive to limit the project’s disruptive effects by transplanting or replacing more than 500 trees with calipers ranging from 5 to 33 in. A certified arborist will oversee that work, as well as pruning and other vegetation removal.
The project has personal meaning for several Consigli team members. Project manager Saman Ali worked as an interpreter with the Marine Corps 34th Marine Expeditionary Unit in Iraq. Brault’s grandfather, Richard R. Brault, served with the 10th Marine (Artillery) Regiment 2nd Battalion, Company D, 2nd Marine Division in the Pacific during World War II.
“It was very moving to see the commemorative brick honoring my grandfather’s unit at the project groundbreaking,” Brault says. “He was very proud of his service in the Marines, and I can think of no better way to honor him.”