SAN NICOLAS ISLAND, Calif. (NNS) – Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) celebrated the grand opening of the “Fox Den” multiuse Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) food and beverage facility onboard San Nicolas Island (SNI) Feb. 16, 2022.
A ribbon cutting ceremony welcomed all Sailors and civilians working on SNI, the most remote of the Channel Islands, off the Southern California coast.
“This has been years in the making,” said Cdr. Keith “Fudge” Buckingham, officer in charge, SNI. “The Fox Den is a big improvement to food service, morale and the quality of life on the island.”
The building was originally opened as a military galley in 1952. The Navy decided to repurpose it as a multiuse MWR facility in 2018, and broke ground on the project one year later. The construction was a gut-renovation that included major layout changes.
“There are incredible logistic challenges to working and living on an island,” said Buckingham. “The means of getting construction materials is a barge or C-130 multi-mission transport aircraft. However, the barge method is unreliable because the island does not have a harbor. Deliveries are made to our wharf from a free-floating vessel that are dependent on calm ocean conditions.”
The Fox Den was funded as a Long-Term Maintenance (LTM) Special Project that cost approximately $7 million dollars.
“I work at SNI between 4 to 11 days straight,” said Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Petty Officer Olivia Lujan, assigned the NBVC. “This is vital to Sailors like me who depend on this facility for food and basic needs, especially during the difficult duty weekends when we feel isolated from the mainland.”
During the work week, contract construction crews lived through a combination of temporary construction trailers and Navy Gateway Inns & Suites lodging.
“The is what the Sailors deserved,” said Jacob Munyon, director, Fleet and Family Readiness. “The renovation encompassed a complete reconfiguration to support a new club/restaurant/bar concept that looks and functions beautifully and provides a much-needed upgrade to the difficulties of island life.”
The Fox Den, named in honor of the indigenous population of protected Island Foxes, includes 2 kitchens, 2 large dining areas, game room, conference room, storage, scullery, offices, bathrooms, lounge with fireplace, study area, 8-large monitors, and full-service bar.
“This facility is a symbol of the commitment the U.S. Navy has to our Sailors and civilians working on the island,” said Capt. Robert “Barr” Kimnach III, commanding officer, NBVC. “A commitment we can never lose sight of, and one which helps to maintain or mission readiness.”
NBVC is home to Point Mugu, Port Hueneme, San Nicolas Island, Laguna Peak, the Pacific Coast Seabees, the West coast Hawkeyes, 3 warfare centers, and 80 tenants. It is the largest employer in Ventura County and actively protects California’s largest coastal wetlands through its award-winning environmental programs.