By Ashley Brugnone
“This is the planning time right now—planning for projects and making sure that the projects we are executing can either be complete by the time the National Matches start, or we wait until after the National Matches end,” said CPT Michael Yates, Base Operations Supervisor of Camp Perry.
Yates has been a part of Fort Ohio (which oversees Ohio’s three National Guard facilities: Camp Perry, Camp Ravenna and Camp Sherman) since 2009, after returning from a tour in Iraq. He began as the Range Operations Manager at Camp Ravenna before becoming the Camp Perry Base Operations Supervisor in June 2014. With the help of Yates and other dedicated staff members through the years, Camp Perry has seen a lot of crucial development on the grounds that has helped keep the post the treasured destination it is today.
Over the past three-to-five years, the base has put more than $10 million into facility improvements. Considering the post is used by the military as well as its partners, the Civilian Marksmanship Program, the National Rifle Association, federal and local law enforcement and Department of Homeland Security entities, all year long—trying to improve energy efficiencies and maintaining training venues on base can be a challenging and never-ending task.
“Everything that we’re doing here at Camp Perry is continually improving what we have. This facility has been around for over 100 years now, so she is always needing some updates,” said Yates. “We did a big sanitary update in the ’90s, water in 2010 and electric in 2011. Now we’re coming up on the lifecycle of those things, so we’re doing lifecycle updates.”
In 2015, Camp Perry took on more than 20 projects, totaling over $900,000. The renovations included chipping and sealing of the range roads to keep dust off of the ranges, as well as upgrading the historical lighting on Scorpion Road by the clubhouse—steadily making the base more energy-efficient by adding sensors to the LED lights so they know when to come on at night, as well as installing new HVAC systems throughout the complex.
“The guard is keeping an eye on being environmentally-friendly with what we have—‘going green,’ as they say,” said Yates. “It was a great year for progress, and 2016 has the possibility of being even better.”
Depending on budget and weather elements, Yates expects the opportunity for upwards of 20 projects again and millions of dollars towards base improvements in 2016.
“The biggest stuff we’re working on is just planning for the future—planning out the rest of 2016, planning for 2017. We have the potential for some very large projects coming up in the near future, but I’m going to leave that one as a cliffhanger,” he said, with a smile.
Current projects around Camp Perry include:
The Viale and Rodriguez berm and drainage project has been ongoing for the past few years. The base is in the final stages of those range improvements, with seed and straw set to be laid when the weather breaks in the spring. The new drainage will allow better recuperation after summer storms that inevitably hit Camp Perry each year.
Petrarca Range garage doors that have been damaged over the years are being replaced, and the western end of the firing line is seeing updates as well. Walls are being installed and lighting will be enhanced to create a more “classroom” type setting for soldiers and National Match competitors to use for discussion sessions.
“When soldiers come here in the winter time, they’ll have a place to work under cover in a classroom environment, but still be able to work with weapons on the ranges,” explained Yates. “It worked out nicely that it benefits our partners for the National Matches so the clinics will have a nice area to work with too.”
The RV Park Shower floor has been completely repaired of the cracking it had endured from years of wear. The project was complete around October 2015.
“It’s beautiful. They did a great job with that,” said Yates. “It’s going to be a nice venue for those who are going to be utilizing the park.”
Two North Barracks Buildings renovations are almost complete. The facilities were down during the 2015 National Matches due to a variety of issues, but will be up and running for the 2016 National Matches – allowing even more housing options right on the Camp Perry base.
HVAC, Windows and Doors – to improve efficiencies of the facilities
“Right now, we’re doing a lot of architectural assessments on projects,” said Yates.
Because Camp Perry is state grounds containing buildings that are also federally supported, it has a mix of Federal and State budgets. Money comes in from the State Headquarters and from the National Guard Bureau for the facilities.
Each year, an estimate is placed against each issue established as priorities by Yates and his staff. From there, the information is passed on to Fort Ohio Commander, COL Herrington-Clemens, who prioritizes a list of items from all of the Ohio facilities to the director of installation management and resources, who then distributes the budget accordingly. In the federal budget, there are multiple facets where money can be dispersed, but none can be crossed into another.
Some funding is also set specifically for range improvements—including the ranges themselves and any range support facilities, including the firing line cover. Funding is geared towards the ranges that Camp Perry has on the ground, the needs of the Ohio Army Reserve National Guard troops and the amount of utilization of the ranges. That information goes into a formula prepared by the National Guard Bureau, which funds work on existing ranges or looking at new possible ranges.
“We made sure that we are keeping things tight and fiscally responsible on what we have and constantly improving with the funding that we do get,” said Yates. “The Ohio National Guard has been keeping this place and the other training sites pretty well kept—making sure we have what we need to keep things running and to keep our military units and our partners happy.”