TYNDALL AFB, Fla. (WMBB) — It was a big morning at Tyndall Air Force Base on Wednesday as base leaders held the first groundbreaking ceremony for the installation’s rebuild efforts.
A new Child Development Center (CDC) is the first facility on base to start construction for the nearly five billion dollar rebuild, and special guests with tiny shovels were at the ceremony Wednesday morning to help break ground.
“There’s no better folks to ground break than the kids that are actually in the CDC’s now,” said Col. Greg Moseley, Commander of the 325th Fighter Wing. “They’re doing great.”
He said the new CDC is the first military construction (MILCON) project to be built for Tyndall’s rebuild effort, ahead of the new F-35 Lightning Fighter Jets arriving to the base in 2023.
While the new building will be built to new resiliency standards, like sustaining 165 mph winds, the focus on resilience for the rebuild goes deeper than just the buildings.
“The resiliency of our airmen is at the forefront of all of our minds and that starts with the family,” he said. “This is the first step in rebuilding Tyndall, this is also the first monumental step in taking care of our airmen and their families.”
The new facility will have three times the capacity for children, able to accept over three hundred kids for daycare services.
“That means right now that our waitlist is going to significantly decrease,” explained Lt. Col. Rigo Perez, Commander of the 325th Force Support Squadron.
Lt. Col. Perez said childcare is a huge need for military families.
“The fact that the air force affords us that opportunity to provide that service and support to our airmen allows them to further train and be ready to deploy at any given notice to do what our nation requires of us,” he said.
Col. Moseley said with three F-35 squadrons on the way, it’s just the start of new construction popping up on base.
“This is the first big step going forward and we’re excited to take it with the CDC,” he said.
The $26 million childcare facility is expected to finish construction in September 2022.