(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Rosecrans 139th Air National Guard Base held a groundbreaking ceremony for their new multi-million dollar communications facility on Wednesday.
Several state officials including former St. Joseph Mayor and current State Representative Bill Falkner (R-District 10), and several city officials including Mayor Bill McMurray and City Manager Bruce Woody attended the ceremony at Rosecrans.
The new building will be constructed north of the main military base and Rosecrans Memorial Airport, near the Rosecrans Fire Station. Base Civil Engineer Matt Neil said the facility will hold all of the base's communications members, the Fatality Search and Rescue Team and more.
"This building will actually house one of the hubs that we have for our communications," Neil said. "So, not only will it have the communications folks, it'll also have one of the larger hubs that will take care of all of the communications for our north development area."
In addition to the building, the team will also be installing a stormwater basin and stormwater main to run all of the water from the northern facilities away from the property.
The total cost of the development has totaled roughly $10 million, with the City of St. Joseph chipping in for infrastructure and sewer work.
"That cost includes not only the building, it includes the Military Construction Cooperative Agreement that we've done with the City of St. Joseph as well as the design for the actual facility and for the other parts of the building," Neil said.
Mayor McMurray said he's glad to see the city working alongside the Air National Guard as the base continues to grow and expand north on the property.
"This is a great partnership between the airbase and the city," McMurray said. "The recent flooding episodes, if it hadn't been for the 139th we'd probably be underwater here [Rosecrans]. They bring in several million dollars for our economy and lots of people employed over here, over a thousand, so this is a terrific part of our economy and we want to support them."
Neil said the construction of the new facility hasn't started due to recent rainy weather, flooding and some more dirt work that still needs to be done on the land.
"Right now, one of the challenges with these buildings up here is we're trying to get all of the finished floor elevations to 821 feet, and with that, we have to bring in a lot of dirt work," Neil said. "So, hopefully we can get all the dirt in here and get it compacted and then start working on the building."
The entire project will take about one year to complete. However, the base already has some other plans in the works for more development in the area.
Neil said the base is currently in design for a full-motion simulator building, which will be another large, full-scale facility. They're waiting for the B2 submittal on the project, which only needs a 95 percent approval before they can bid on the property.
"We should be looking at getting a contract on that this next fiscal year and hopefully we'll be out here again for another groundbreaking," Neil said.
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