Some of the money will go toward new projects and some will go toward expansion of existing facilities. But overall, the award enables the continuing expansion of the Army Base. Joanna Richards reports from Watertown.
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The projects include new ammunition storage facilities, a doubling of the seating capacity in the chapel sanctuary, a new outpatient health clinic, an addition to a dental clinic and more parking space for helicopters. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced the funding would create about 340 construction jobs.
James Corriveau is director of public works on Fort Drum. He says the funding for the new clinic and the addition to the dental clinic will help fill existing needs for more health care providers on the installation. The ammunition storage facilities – four new bunkers – anticipate a growing population on Fort Drum as soldiers return from deployments.
"And those are great facilities to support the training of the 10th Mountain Division. As more units are going to be coming home and staying home longer in the years ahead as the war winds down, they'll be training more here at Fort Drum, using more training ammunition, and so the need for storage and issue capacity has gone up," Corriveau said.
Corriveau says construction of the projects will take between 12 and 18 months and can begin once Congress appropriates the money. He hopes ground can be broken in the spring.
It's always exciting to see the investment in Fort Drum and its future," Corriveau said. "We've been building a lot here, about a billion and a half over the last 10 years, since 9/11. These projects are relatively modest in comparison. But that's a lot of work, and every bit helps and year after year we keep adding to the physical plant here and revitalizing it and expanding it, and that all speaks to the enduring capacity and capability of Fort Drum."