Refinishing pool tables, installing bar taps and planning for proper flow of patrons on a patio. It might sound like the commercial construction and design work of a downtown business – but this time, it was the task of DCC’s team in Esquimalt as they coordinated the renovation of an old building into the new Junior Ranks Mess and Pacific Fleet Club.

“I haven’t had a project where colour mattered,” jokes Chris Mills, DCC Coordinator, Construction Services in Esquimalt.

When it was found that the previous mess facility required significant repairs, the Naden 40 building was selected as the preferred new location. Renovations on the century-old building, to turn it from an office to a mess, gave the team a few surprises including rodents, an original heritage window concealed in the wall, hidden hazardous materials and a dirt crawl space that had to be corrected.

Those kinds of things are just to be expected though when working on a building this age. What really stood out about this project was the focus on comfort.

“This is their home-away-from-home,” said Mills about the importance of the facility. “It’s key to morale for members and it’s necessary to make them feel welcome.”

The reno included creating a casual, pub-like space, with garage doors opening onto an outside seating area. The bar, lighting, seating, games, paint, flooring was all considered with the overall feel in mind.

Despite the hurdles of an aging building, and COVID-19 (which impacted progress on site and material orders), the building officially opened for business in July 2021, completing the $3.4 million, two-year project.

“I think it’s one of the nicest looking interiors on base,” said Mills. “We really wanted to make it feel like a home.”

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