McBride Library now the McBride Commons on Keesler - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

McBride Library now the McBride Commons on Keesler

Two years after closing, the ribbon was cut on the new McBride Commons on Tuesday. (Photo source: WLOX) Two years after closing, the ribbon was cut on the new McBride Commons on Tuesday. (Photo source: WLOX)
Gaming center in new McBride Commons (Photo source: WLOX) Gaming center in new McBride Commons (Photo source: WLOX)
Library in new McBride Commons (Photo source: WLOX) Library in new McBride Commons (Photo source: WLOX)
Kitchen area in new McBride Commons (Photo source: WLOX) Kitchen area in new McBride Commons (Photo source: WLOX)
Arts and crafts workshop in new McBride Commons (Photo source: WLOX) Arts and crafts workshop in new McBride Commons (Photo source: WLOX)
KEESLER AFB, BILOXI (WLOX) -

A building on Keesler Air Force Base honors the legacy of Maj. Edward Ernest McBride, who died in 1968, shot down on a flight over Laos during the Vietnam War. A library on the base opened in his honor in 1975, but closed in 2014. Now, that same building has a new name and purpose.

With the cutting of the ribbon, the McBride Library is now the McBride Commons. Dozens gathered for the dedication, including McBride family members.

The commons will offer something for everyone. That’s the word from base commander Col. Michele Edmondson.

“It will have our engraving shop, arts and crafts, ink printing, a conference room, meeting area, the best Wi-Fi you will probably find on the base, a gaming room,” Edmondson told the crowd.  

On display was a tribute to the fallen war hero and his family. Lori Weyerstrass is an Air Force spouse.

“It's such a privilege to have the McBride family here to represent the sacrifice that he gave, and that's just beyond comprehension,” said Weyerstrass. 

The McBride family was touched by the honor. Roy is the brother of Edward. 

“I think it will be well used. I surely hope it is, and it's real good. We're honored, the whole family of McBride,” said Roy McBride. 

The McBride Commons will play a key role on base. Ashley White is the arts and crafts manager.  

“It's very important. Especially when spouses are deployed.  It keeps them occupied with stuff to do, and it's good for the morale of the community,” White explained. 

Getting to this day was not easy for Squadron Deputy Chris McIntire.

“It was monumental, but it wasn't anything that we couldn't handle, because we have such an awesome staff here. Everyone took their role and converted this older facility,” McIntire said.  

For many of the airmen who walked through the doors of the McBride Commons for the first time, there was certainly a wow factor, and they were certainly impressed. One of them is Master Sgt. Sharita Williams.

“I think it's an awesome facility. With all the services it provides, I think it will be a great place for the retirees and the airmen to come and partake in,” said Williams. 

For the crowd of well-wishers, that's exactly what they want. 

Renovations to turn the old library into the new commons took two years to complete at a cost about $500,000.

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