Some Cannon construction projects nearing end

Freedom New Mexico: Alisa Boswell Construction on this aircraft maintenance hangar began in 2010 and should be completed the second quarter of 2012. It was the first project for the southeast development on Cannon Air Force Base and measures 38,000 square feet to house two C-130 aircraft.

Alisa Boswell

Big construction projects have been under way at Cannon Air Force Base in 2010 and 2011 with some of them approaching their finish in the next one to 12 months and some just beginning.

“The main purpose is to provide support facilities for the C-130 aircraft,” said AFSOC Chief of Programs Flight Steven Hill of southeast base development, which includes 200,000 square feet of hangar space and 14 new parking spaces for aircraft and emergency vehicles.

“We’ll soon have aircraft hangar space for five aircraft plus a parking ramp and that will put us in business on the southeast side,” Hill said. “All of these projects have either broken ground or will break ground in the next 90 days.”

Chief of Capital Asset Management Tim Farmer said the average Air Force base gets one MILCON (construction project) every other year, but Cannon has had 18 projects in the works from 2008 to 2011.

“Cannon’s not only growing in facilities but also in personnel,” Farmer said. “The role Cannon plays in national security is very important, so the government is willing to put the money into it.”

Hill said the first hangar project started is a maintenance hangar for C-130 aircraft, which is 85 percent complete and is anticipated to be finished in the second quarter of 2012.

Hill said the second of seven CAFB aircraft simulators was also just completed.

“The simulator facilities allow military personnel to train here instead of somewhere else,” Hill said. “Which allows for less TDYs (temporary duty).”

Hill said an important project recently completed is a power substation on the south side of the base, which was the joint effort of MILCON officials and Xcel Energy personnel.

“It will connect the southeast side with enough power,” Hill said. “Plus, it’s a redundant power source, which means it will tie into the substation on the north side. So if one goes down, the other picks up the slack.”

Some quality of life construction projects that have been in the works at Cannon are new dormitories for airmen and a Child Development Center.

“We’re hoping to award that contract in November or December, then break ground shortly after,” Farmer said of building the first of two new dormitories. “Our second dorm, we’re hoping to start in 2012 so hopefully we’ll have two dorms under construction within two years.”

Farmer said with a shortage of dorm housing on base, airmen have been having to rent in town.

He said two older dorm buildings are currently undergoing major renovations with one being gutted and renovated. Officials are hoping the two buildings, a $5.8 million project, will be completed by December.

Farmer said a pavilion was also built this year on one of the dormitory campuses, which allows airmen to grill and barbecue.

“We’re also in the middle of building new volleyball courts and we just ordered new furniture for the dayrooms,” Farmer said. “So, there’s a lot of quality of life projects going on right now.”

Farmer said the Child Development Center is anticipated to be active by the end of October.

“It will double our childcare facilities,” said Amanda Willoughby, MILCON Team Lead, of the center. “We’re building our mission up and in order to do that, we need those facilities.”