By Daniel P. Elkins, Mission and Installation Contracting Command Public Affairs OfficeJuly 27, 2011
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Mission and Installation Contracting Command experts played an instrumental role in the preparation for the reception of 246 U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School cadet candidates July 18 at their new West Point, N.Y., home.
Although the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission decision to move the prep school from Fort Monmouth, N.J., to West Point established a firm date for the school’s move, contract professionals at the MICC Installation Contracting Office-West Point overcame an ever-changing sequence of requirements to meet the command’s move ahead of schedule.
“The planning phase began about two years ago, and we worked closely with a team established by the post garrison to coordinate all of the moving pieces, make sure the construction was done on time, and ensure the supplies and equipment were ordered to arrive on time,” said Dave Bugger, the MICC ICO-West Point director.
The prep school move placed a monumental task of requirements on top of the everyday workload already being accomplished by the ICO staff. To successfully manage the procurement of numerous contracts valued at more than $25 million, Bugger assembled a team led by Deputy Director Annemarie Kopko. Recognizing the sheer number of requirements involved with such a move, Kopko coordinated the workload with MICC ICO-West Point teams led by Supervisory Contract Specialists Denise Conklin, Liz Simihtis and Pat Campbell.
“There were a lot of parts moving at the same time. As decisions were being made, requirements were being changed, and we wanted to ensure we remained responsive and have contracts in place,” said Kopko of the challenge. “Each of the division chiefs is very familiar with their customers and was able to develop a good idea of what had to be purchased " they knew what was coming before being assigned the work.”
Among the moving parts was the need to move the post motor pool to a new location, making room for the prep school’s classrooms. That move along with the purchase of motor pool equipment had to be accelerated to accommodate the arrival of cadet candidates, necessitating a last-minute requirement for a temporary facility until the new motor pool could be finished.
Compounding the challenge was the addition of a handful of requirements at the end of 2010 and earlier this year for services that were originally to be performed in-house or as part of a modification to an existing contract, but were instead impacted by hiring restrictions, Bugger said.
Conklin’s team facilitated short-term contracts for facilities maintenance, dining and custodial services until they are assumed this fall by contractors with the AbilityOne Program, which provides employment opportunities for people who are blind or have other significant disabilities by procuring federal contracts for goods and services.
“It was very challenging because we were bringing potential contractors to a site that wasn’t yet built,” she said.
Also among the contracts were the procurement of information technology and audiovisual equipment; athletic gear; training equipment to include weights, benches, ellipticals, treadmills and a hydrotherapy table; and dining facility equipment.
“We all helped one another when requirements came in for the prep school,” Campbell said. “One team was not able to do the amount of work we had with the regular workload.”
The commandant said the remaining construction of some classrooms and office space as well as the rest of the athletic facilities should be complete by January 2012. In preparation, MICC ICO-West Point members continue to work closely with their prep school customers to procure a closed circuit television broadcast, common access card readers and follow-on requirements for its new customer.
“We knew we were on a very tight timeline and by law needed to relocate the command prior to Sept. 15. We were able to do that, and we did it early,” said Col. Tyge Rugenstein, USMAPS commandant. “I’ve been very happy with the support we’ve been given.”
West Point Prep prepares candidates selected by the academy's admissions office for the academic, physical and military rigors of the West Point military academy. Students are made up of high school graduates as well as enlisted members from the active, Reserve or National Guard force. Upon successfully completing the 10-month prep school, students enter the academy as part of the class of 2016.