It's an injection into the coast's economy that's getting bigger each year. In payroll alone, the base pays military and civilian workers and retirees over $500 million which finds its way right back into the economy. Local contractors and skilled workers are also benefiting from the continued economic upswing.
Jim Bryan works for Roy Anderson Contractors and is the Base Exchange project manager and says, "When the base comes into our area and spends the kind of money that they do, then we have more jobs, more tax collection it's great for everybody."
The new base exchange is ahead of schedule using a local contractor, and the 151,000 square foot facility is being built with plenty of coast workers and plenty of money that directly benefits South Mississippi. Jim Bryan says, "Most of our work force, all of our subcontractors are local, so really every dime is turned right back into the local economy."
In addition to the new base exchange building, another huge project going on at Keesler Air Force Base is taking all of the overhead power lines and putting them underground, and they'll be run from a brand new sub-station. It's a Two and a half year project that will see about 15 to 20 local contractors that will do such things as excavating, paving work, as well as landscaping, and it will also pump plenty of new dollars into our economy.
Jack Kaufmann is the senior project manager for the underground utility work on the base and says, "The amount of the project is about 39-million dollars and obviously it requires a lot of local manpower, subcontractors, suppliers in order to pull the contract off and get it completed on time." Several other multi-million contracts have also lent to the growing impact that Keesler has here on the coast, an impact that rises by the millions every year.