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Connecticut Invests $7.65 Million in SUBASE Improvements

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS090927-02
Release Date: 9/27/2009 7:04:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist(AW) Peter D. Blair, Naval Submarine Base New London Public Affairs

GROTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell marked the state's $7.65 million investment in upcoming infrastructure improvements at Naval Submarine Base New London (SUBASE), during a ceremony held Thursday, Sept. 24, at the base.

The state grant will be used to build a new diver support facility, or Dive Locker, and replace an aging boiler in the base's power plant.

"The fact that Connecticut stepped up with money for infrastructure projects directly on the base sends a very clear and a very important signal, one that we appreciate and support," said Mabus.

As Rell reminded all, SUBASE has enjoyed the support of the Connecticut community since the state first conveyed the initial land for the installation to the Navy in a Deed of Gift in 1868.

"Connecticut has always had a warm relationship with the Navy…and over the last 140 years our commitment has never wavered," said Rell.

Two years ago, in a unique initiative, the state's commitment evolved into a direct investment.

It was then that the State of Connecticut through a Connecticut General Statute had authorized proceeds from a $50 million bond sale to enhance infrastructure at the Navy's first submarine base which currently is home to 15 fast-attack submarines and more than 70 tenant command and activities.

"We wanted to step up to the plate to show our support and our interest in keeping this base as a viable operating base for the infrastructure of the Navy," Rell said.

Two key base operations on the waterfront will receive the benefit of this initial state investment. The Naval Submarine Support Facility's more than 40 divers who perform inspections and maintenance on the base's submarines have been operating out of a re-purposed 1918 waterfront warehouse as a Dive Locker.

Chief Warrant Officer John Theriot, diving officer, said the dive team will welcome the upgrades of the proposed new 9,162 square foot building. It will be designed from the ground up to house the repair divers, a hyperbaric chamber, support equipment, office and shop space, and a high bay for maintenance of the team's associated small craft.

"Our public works crew is always fixing something [now]. A new building will not only give us more space for work and preparation, but also will let men focus on their jobs rather than the facilities," said Theriot.

The new boiler for the base's power plant is an element of a multi-phase project that will ultimately see five 1960 era oil-fired, steam boilers that have been supplying steam heat and hot water to base facilities and activities replaced with three modern ones.

"One of the things that I have been stressing for the Navy is energy efficiency and beginning to move towards energy independence," said Mabus. "You can't do that with old equipment."

Estimates for the completion of these two initial projects are August 2011, and according to Mabus and Rell, the Navy and state will continue to work in "partnership" to develop and prioritize future investment opportunities.

While the base divers capped the event with the traditional cheer of "Hooyah!", the secretary articulated the Navy's appreciation.

"As a former governor [of Mississippi], I know how difficult the financial situation is for states, and I know how hard the decision was to spend Connecticut taxpayers' dollars and invest in this partnership," Mabus said. "Connecticut has shown what can be done. ... Thank you, Governor Rell, and thank you, Connecticut."

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