Breaking New Ground—Stories from Defence Construction Breaking_new_ground - Page 70

Project: SAMSON New strategic communications equipment arrived in the 1970s, in the form of the Strategic Automated Message Switching Operational Network (SAMSON). DCL was responsible for awarding contracts, inspections and payments for SAMSON’s facilities in Penhold, Halifax (Mill Cove), Halifax (Debert), Borden and Carp, as well as at CFB Lahr. A Statement of Requirements was issued in February 1973, and by the middle of that year, a senior DCL engineer was on loan to the SAMSON project office. Contracts worth almost $2 million were awarded in 1974–75 for building modifications, and work continued through the 1970s. SAMSON was formally commissioned in August 1980 and was fully automated by April the following year. It remained in operation for just over 15 years: on September 15, 1995, the Borden Node transmitted its last message using the system. 60 Project: The Megaplex For anyone who’s ever seen, or trained in, the Megacomplex in St. Jean, Quebec—not far outside Montreal—the building is an impressive sight. Known by many as “the Megaplex,” it varies in height from 5 to 12 floors and stretches for 1,400 feet along a roughly north-south axis. Inside, its residents find almost everything they need: accommodation, classrooms, dining facilities and physical training facilities. It was one of DCL’s largest projects in the 1970s—and one of the most problematic. The project’s vision saw it serving as a language school, a recruit training facility and a technical training school. The budget was $88 million, with occupation planned for 1977–78. The work wasn’t finished until 1982, however, and construction costs soared to just over $100 million, resulting from a long and very confrontational construction strike in Quebec, inflation, changes in building codes, difficulties with design development, design changes, implementation claims and litigation. BREAKING NEW GROUND DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA