Governor Rell: Navy to Accept Improvements to Sub Base
September 24, 2009
Projects, Intended to Stave Off Future BRAC Threats, Will Greatly Increase Military Value of Base
Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that the U.S. Navy has formally accepted the state’s offer of $7.65 million for the construction of a diving support facility and a new boiler at the Navy submarine base in Groton. The two projects will greatly enhance the military value of the base, which accounts for about 15,000 jobs and a $3 billion annual economic impact in Connecticut.
“Connecticut’s warm relationship with the Navy – and especially with the Navy’s submarine force – goes back all the way to 1868, when the state first donated the land for the beginnings of this base,” Governor Rell said at a ceremony at the base attended by Navy Secretary Raymond Mabus Jr., top Navy officials and local government leaders.
“We have come a long way since then – from sail, steam and ironclads all the way to nuclear power – but throughout these 140 years, Connecticut’s commitment to the Navy has never wavered,” the Governor said. “And today it is stronger than ever. That is first and foremost because this base is a critical part of our national security strategy, and Connecticut has always been proud of the role it has played in our nation’s defense. But it also true because the base is a vital part of our economy. If committing $7.65 million now helps preserve $3 billion a year in economic impact, I call that a wise investment.”
Twice in recent years the submarine base has been targeted for closure in the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. Each time, the efforts of “Team Connecticut” persuaded decision-makers that it would be short-sighted to close the base and lose the tremendous synergy created by the base, the nearby Electric Boat plant and the state’s defense manufacturing and technology base.
“When we saved the base in 2005, I committed to doing everything in my power to protect it from future BRAC rounds,” Governor Rell said. “The fact that Connecticut is the first state in the nation to fully fund construction projects like these on a Navy base clearly demonstrates our commitment.”
The first project, the design and construction of an 8,162-square-foot, state-of-the-art diver support facility, will cost $4.65 million. The “dive locker” will serve about 40 divers at the Naval Submarine Support Facility who perform submarine repair work and inspection. The facility houses diver equipment and tools and provides space for diver support such as medical, environmental, training and administrative needs and a decompression chamber. The current diver support facility, built in 1918, is in one of the oldest structures on the base.
The second project is the design, construction, and installation of a new heating boiler in the sub base central power plant. This $3 million component is important because it will ensure reliable steam for the heat, hot water, and industrial processes used in the many and various facilities on the base. The current boilers date to the 1960s.
The state Bond Commission approved funding for the two projects in January. The $7.65 million comes from $50 million in bond funds set aside for infrastructure projects that support long-term, on-going naval operations at the base.