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Camp Dodge STARC Armory Testimonial

A letter from:
Susan L. Vrzak
Captain (P), Iowa National Guard
Director of Contracting

Camp Dodge
7700 N.W. Beaver Drive
Johnston, IA 50131-1902



As the Director of Contracting for the Iowa National Guard, I am pleased to recommend Proctor Mechanical Corporation for a national award of honor for their performance during the construction of the Iowa National Guard Armory Complex, also known as the STARC Armory.


The STARC Armory was designed on the tenets of the National Guard Bureau's "Armory of the Future" concept. The three major elements of this concept design were 1) all assigned unit activities on one level to alleviate lifting and back injuries to soldiers, 2) an "openness" in the building so occupants don't feel "boxed-in", and 3) incorporation of several smaller multipurpose assembly halls that can function as drill halls, training areas and meeting rooms. Similarly, the armory includes vehicle storage buildings attached to the back side of the building and opening into the supply room areas.


The armory incorporates the most modern construction methods and provides immediate energy conservation savings and long term facilities savings. The location of heating and cooling towers on the roof provides for better efficiency of units and makes better utilization of space.


The armory is essentially divided into three distinct parts: The top floor housing the State Headquarters for the Iowa National Guard, the ground floor housing operation for 850 Guards persons, and the basement housing the State Emergency Operations Center, Disaster Recovery and the HUB of the Iowa Communications Network.


Proctor Mechanical was a critical part of the success of this construction project. I was particularly impressed with their field and support organizational ability, their ability to set and meet schedules, their ability to consistently maintain quality with their daily punch lists and their project closeout team approach which made the closeout transition smooth and efficient.


Proctor Mechanical faced many unique challenges during the 730 day construction period. One challenge was the plans themselves. There were numerous omissions and ambiguities caused by a highly compressed design schedule, however, using a Total Quality Management approach, Proctor was able to resolve each situation and continue to excel.


Another major challenge was the "Floods of 93". Downtown Des Moines was ordered closed for a week by the Mayor and the Metropolitan area was without water for two weeks. Proctor's office and yard was at the epicenter of the flooding. Their office took on 9 feet of water. To compound the situation, a modification was cut to the contract which required the early occupancy of the Iowa Communication Network, located in the basement of the armory. The acceleration required the area to be ready to house more then 10 million dollars of computer hardware. Given this, the basement's mechanical system had to meet very strict climate requirements and have emergency backup equipment on-line. Further, there was a zero tolerance factor for system interruption. During this crucial milestone of the construction schedule, Proctor Mechanical was able to maintain the schedule and most importantly, maintain quality while they changed temporary offices three times. I can honestly say that their displacement was totally transparent to the owner. Proctor did not miss a beat.


Proctor Mechanical Corporation offered distinct leadership on the construction team. They were able to handle some very intensive adversity without disruption to the project schedule. Their on-site workers and superintendent were responsive and customer oriented. Given this and the above, the Iowa National Guard is pleased to recommend Proctor Mechanical Corporation for an Associated Builders and Contractors Award of Excellence. Their ability to get the job done under any circumstance certainly makes them deserving of such an award.



Susan L. Vrzak
Captain (P), Iowa National Guard
Director of Contracting

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