BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Tyndall Air Force Base is out of the planning and designing phase and into the construction phase of its rebuild.
On Friday, the community got an inside look into the progress.
325th Fighter Wing Commander Colonel George Watkins showed the community just how far the rebuild has come in the last four years.
“We just broke ground on our flight line area, which is a $532 million construction project and the flight line area composes three main hangars that will house our F-35 maintenance and operations units,” Watkins said.
The first squadron of F-35s will be here by September 2023.
The base will eventually house three squadrons or a total of 76 F-35s.
This rebuild is the largest installation rebuild in DOD history, with 44 military construction projects planned or underway.
“The fire station is one of our first projects to get out of the ground, that one should be completed here in the next several months,” TAFB Chief of Natural Disaster Recovery Division Colonel Rob Bartlow said. “We also have a Child Development Center finishing soon as well as a couple of our support facilities for some major tenant units at Tyndall Air Force Base.”
Once the rebuild is complete they will have 120 new facilities designed to be resilient and sustainable over time.
“Some of those standards are the wind standards, so we are building to Miami-Dade hurricane standards so they should be able to withstand Category 5 hurricane wind standards,” Watkins said.
Along with stronger buildings, Watkins said he also wants to build stronger ties between the base and the community.
“This community here is so welcoming to the Air Force and the on-base community that we really appreciate it and one of my goals is to share support back to the community and bring members of the community on base more often,” Watkins said.
They expect construction on the majority of the facilities to be completed by 2025 and the entire rebuild finished by 2027.
Tyndall’s economic impact on Bay County is just over $1 billion a year.