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Navy Report Calls Out Unsafe Conditions At SPAWAR Facility

The former Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, or SPAWAR, headquarters complex is shown in this undated photo. The Navy has since changed the name of the agency to Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, or NAVWAR.
US Navy
The former Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, or SPAWAR, headquarters complex is shown in this undated photo. The Navy has since changed the name of the agency to Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, or NAVWAR.

The Naval Inspector General reported a number of safety issues related to SPAWAR's aging complex in Old Town.

Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command is located in a sprawling complex next to Interstate 5. The Inspector General’s report said the problem is not only that these buildings are old, but the roof's sawtooth design. Some windows are cracked, while others are stuck open, attracting pests.

In the most northern building, especially, inspectors found workers are exposed to dripping water. Bird feces have rained down from the ceiling. More than 4,000 employees work in the facility. Some have complained.

“We have had employees who have reported health issues that they believe are due to the work environment," said SPAWAR spokesman Steven Davis in a written statement. "When that occurs, employees are encouraged to seek medical expertise for evaluation. The command is concerned about the health of all employees and ensuring their safety is a top priority.”

During World War II, the SPAWAR complex was used to manufacture aircraft. The open hangers have been converted to office space.

SPAWAR was inspected in 2017. Among the environmental issues listed in the report, SPAWAR installed a system to remove fumes from toxic Trichloroethylene uncovered in one of the hangers. The Navy is also working with state authorities to remove a kerosene tank found on the grounds.

SPAWAR spent $26 million from 2013 to 2016 to upgrade the Old Town campus. Investigators said that was not enough to solve all of the issues. SPAWAR is a tenant — the complex is part of Naval Base Point Loma.

Overall, the Inspector General gave SPAWAR high marks for its overall operation, saying the Navy’s West Coast tech hub required more funds to carry out its range of responsibilities.

Video: Navy Report Calls Out Unsafe Conditions At SPAWAR Facility
Navy Report Calls Out Unsafe Conditions At SPAWAR Facility
The Naval Inspector General found feces, broken pipes and windows at SPAWAR's World War II-era complex in Old Town.