When KIC subsidiary Alaska Universal Services LLC (AUS) won a contract to upgrade two legacy office buildings on a military base in Hawaii, it took on much more than a standard roofing job. Called “WAAF 104” and “WAAF 105,” the properties’ generic names belie their historical significance. The buildings are historic properties built in the early 1920s that survived the Japanese attacks of Dec. 7, 1941.
The buildings are located on Wheeler Army Airfield — a primary target during the attacks because of the many P-36 Hawk and P-40 Warhawk fighter aircraft based there.
As part of the $865,000 contract, AUS can’t do anything to change the outward appearance of either building — a challenge when the plan calls for installation of solar panels on the roof and other modern upgrades. And then there’s the roof itself.
“These are really well-built buildings that are very solid,” says Tim Murph, AUS’s Pacific Regional Manager. “They were built with roof slabs that are 14-inch-thick, hardened concrete. The buildings were built to be bomb–resistant and were made of hardened concrete because in those days they built them anticipating a potential attack.”
Work is expected to begin on the project in late March. When complete, the buildings will still look the same as they did after the 1941 attack, but each three-story office building will have new solar panels installed — hidden behind the building’s top façade — that will produce up to 36 kilowatts of electricity.
And when work is complete, Murph predicts that there will be many more projects available to AUS in Hawaii.
“There are a lot of legacy buildings on military facilities in Hawaii,” Murph said. “They have a high maintenance and upkeep cost. This kind of business will continue for a long time in the future.”