Nearly $200 million dollars in projects are sure to enhance the base's growing mission and needs. Michele Schafer is the recreation director at the Gulfport Seabee Base. She's worked at the base for more than 12 years and has watched the base's mission and population grow despite the blow Katrina dealt the base.
"We've been really growing and need it," Schafer said.
A groundbreaking marked two massive projects underway at the base:
- A $81.6 million project will provide 212 housing units, and it's scheduled to be completed by March 2010.
- The other project, to be completed in January 2010, includes construction of seven facilities, including Bachelor Quarters, a Fitness Center and a Training Hall, totaling 92.8 million dollars. Captain Van Dobson says these new facilities will help the base better carry out its mission and will improve the quality of life for the military men and women there.
"We've done some studies that show we need more housing around the base, and that's being built," said Capt. Van Dobson. "We have expansion of our training capability, which fits very well with the increase and loading of training coming to the base. We look to have about 300 to 400 more students on the base within the next few years, compared to the last few years, so these facilities allows us to accomodates that extra training," Capt. Dobson said.
W.G. Yates & Sons Construction is heading up the $92.8 million project including the training hall and fitness center.
Debcon Incorporated of Ashland, Kentucy is heading up the $81.6 million housing project.