The Dolphin - March 14, 2013, By Ens. Phillip Chitty
GROTON, Conn. - The Executive Director of the Connecticut Office of Military Affairs (OMA) and leadership from Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE) and the Naval Submarine Support Facility (NSSF) broke ground for the construction of a new diver support facility at the base, Wednesday, Mar. 6.
The new $3.5M dive locker, as it’s called by the divers who will use it, is funded by the state of Connecticut.
"The State of Connecticut is the first state to fully fund construction projects on a military base," said Robert Ross from the OMA. "Funding was approved by the state legislature after the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round. Our unprecedented investments are intended to improve the military value of the base and protect the state’s significant economic interest."
Thanking Ross for participating in the brief ceremony, Capt. Marc W. Denno, SUBASE commanding officer, also thanked the citizens of Connecticut for the support the base has received.
"This ground breaking is the latest milestone in the continuing investment by the state in infrastructure improvements at the base," said Denno. "The state of Connecticut, in cooperation with the Navy, has enhanced SUBASE infrastructure since 2009 by investing close to $11 million in SUBASE."
The money invested helped fund the construction of the Submarine Bridge Trainer at Nimitz Hall, the Culinary Training Center at Cross Hall Galley, the modernization of a boiler at the SUBASE Power Plant, and will be used to replace one of the oldest buildings remaining on SUBASE.
As the current dive locker on the base’s waterfront is nearly one hundred years old, Denno highlighted that the new diver support facility is a long awaited and eagerly anticipated project. Divers attending the ground breaking echoed the sentiment.
"We are exceptionally excited to have a new warming, drying, and storage facility on upper base to better equip our divers," said Master Chief Navy Diver Mark Leet, NSSF Master Diver.
The new facility will be located just north of Cromwell Hall, the Submarine Learning Center headquarters building, and will span 8,200 square feet. Plans for the facility include a full locker room, diver re-warm area, a multipurpose training room, equipment storage, and office, laundry, and medical spaces.
Construction of the new dive locker holds special meaning for the president of the Connecticut based Service Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business, Douglas P. Fleming, LLC, which is the project’s prime contractor.
"It is an honor to have been awarded this contract," said Douglas P. Fleming, a former submariner who served for more than three years aboard the Los Angeles class fast-attack submarine, USS Dallas (SSN 700) homeported at SUBASE.
Fleming anticipates completing construction of the new diver support facility in spring 2014.
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