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Dover Air Force Base delivers annual State of the Base, presents on 36 construction projects

Guests at the
Sarah Petrowich
Delaware Public Media
Guests at the annual Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee State of the Base on Nov. 20, 2023 at the Dover Air Force Base.

The 436th Airlift Wing hosts the annual Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce State of the Base event.

Col. Chris McDonald of the 436th Airlift Wing says Dover Air Force Base has 36 construction projects in the works this year, estimated to be over $186 million.

One of the biggest projects is a single-bay hangar with the capability to fully enclose a C-5 aircraft – the largest aircraft in the Air Force inventory.

The $41.2 million hangar broke ground in July 2020, and it is expected to be completed in spring 2023.

“Really that’s an opportunity to not only improve our readiness, but the quality of life of our airmen. So, we’ll be able to do more maintenance on our aircraft, but it also allows those airmen that are performing that maintenance to get out of the elements," McDonald said.

He also notes a $51 million project to build new dorms for junior airmen, addressing a 168 bed shortage.

McDonald says thanks to the base’s civil engineering, contracting and financing teams, $7 million was secured this fiscal year to complete a portion of the project one year ahead of schedule.

A new $30 million state-of-the art whole blood supply depot is also on the way – a project U.S. Sen. Chris Coons is particularly proud of.

“Right now, we have an outdated whole blood supply center that’s not here at Dover Air Force Base. It’s created a lot of health challenges, logistical challenges," Coons said.

Coons says he got the project into the National Defense Authorization Act, and looks forward to getting it funded and completed in the year ahead.

Coons adds he commends the men and women of Dover’s Air Force Base, citing their critical role in re-supplying the Ukrainian military and ability to aid in humanitarian and environmental crises.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.