NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY PANAMA CITY, Fla (WMBB) — While the shoreline surrounding Naval Support Activity Panama City hasn’t changed, the grounds on base have changed quite a bit since Hurricane Michael.
The base is home to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Panama City Division; Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center; Navy Experimental Diving Unit; U.S. Coast Guard Station Panama City and many others.
Total, there are 368 facilities on base, not counting the housing on base.
“After Hurricane Michael, the base sustained about 180 million dollars worth of damage. That’s damage to about 200 facilities on base,” said Christopher McDowell, NSA Panama City Public Works Director.
Since then, the Public Works Department and outside contractors have been hard at work getting things back to standard.
“The Public Works Department has executed about 400,000 man-hours worth of construction which is about five times more for one year,” McDowell said.
In the last 365 days, the team has made great strides to completion.
“We’re starting to get into the whole building renovations so we’ve finished up a lot of roofs, make the buildings watertight and so now we’re at the phase where we’re replacing all the interiors of the buildings,” McDowell said.
The Navy has granted the base about 73 million dollars and is funding the remainder of the project.
“The Navy is planning to reallocate that funding. We’re trusting and relying on and we know they’re going to do it and they’re here to support us,” said Lieutenant Commander Benjamin O’Neill, Executive Officer of NSA Panama City.
While it’s been a challenging year, O’Neill says their sailors and officers continue showing commitment to stay in the community.
“The future or rebuilding this base provides hope, hope to not only the folks inside the fence line but hope to the folks outside the fence line. This base has a great future here in the county. This base is committed to Bay County and we’re committed to continuing the mission here. Each one of our tenant commands is continually trying to grow and expand its mission to increase the lethality of the United States Navy,” O’Neill said.
McDowell says the project will take at least two years to complete.