Military Feature: Airman’s Center in works

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Cannon Air Force Base is proceeding with previously-shelved plans for a larger dining facility and Airman’s Center, according to base officials.

The new center will provide 45,000-square-feet of space, according to Airman 1st Class Thomas Trower of Cannon Public Affairs.

The center will house a post office, dining center, laundry facility, lounge room, game room, media room and other things to enhance the quality of life for Cannon airmen.

Groundbreaking is expected to occur in February.

The existing post office building at Cannon will be torn down with services temporarily relocated, and the new center will be positioned literally straddling Arcadia Avenue, which will cease to be a through street.

Construction is expected to be completed summer 2009, Trower said.

The Pecos Trail, Cannon’s current dining facility, has a building capacity of about 360 people, Trower said. The new facility will triple that capacity with an eye toward Cannon’s future.

“When they plan these facilities they have to think for the future,” Trower said, explaining Pecos Trail was built in 1958.

“However long this (new) facility may last, it has to be able to support (change and growth),” he said.

Funding for the $10 million project was approved in the fiscal 2005 Military Construction program budget, but plans were halted when Cannon’s future hinged on the decision of the Base Realignment and Closure Committee.

With Air Force Special Operations taking command of Cannon Oct. 1, the funding and project are back on track, according to U.S. Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.