After two years of construction, the upgraded Royal Australian Navy Diving School and the Submarine and Underwater Medicine Unit (SUMU) were officially opened at a ceremony at HMAS Penguin today.
Deputy Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Michael van Balen, was joined by current and former members of the Navy diving community at the ribbon cutting.
The buildings are part of a $63.3 million redevelopment which has modernised facilities at HMAS Penguin and the Pittwater Annexe in Clareville.
Commanding Officer HMAS Penguin, Commander Paul Doble, says the enhancement has provided purpose built training facilities and accommodation.
“The redevelopment has enhanced the Dive School and SUMU’s ability to deliver training and capability to the Navy. For the last few years, personnel were working in buildings built in the 1940s, which were designed to support weapons testing and maintenance of the submarine fleet. This did not match the functions for which they are now required,” said Commander Doble.
“The upgrade has for the first time brought together all diving sub-branches, including Clearance Diving, Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Underwater Battle Damage Repair in one complex, increasing efficiency of training conduct and collegiality.”
In recognition of the heritage values at the base, Commander Doble says a compromise was found between functional outcomes and minimising heritage impacts.
“Hansen Yuncken were contracted to complete the works. Works include the adaptive re-use and refurbishment of existing heritage facilities and infrastructure along the waterfront and the construction of new buildings. Civil works were also completed as well as some demolition and the upgrading of engineering services,” said Commander Doble.
“The project has reduced HMAS Penguin’s environmental footprint through improvements to the potable water, trunk sewerage drainage and storm water drainage system. A new gatehouse has also been installed, which has had positive impacts on traffic flows on Middle Head Road.”
Press Release, December 9, 2013; Image:Australian DoD