Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce sponsored the annual military briefing breakfast, where Col. Manson Morris detailed the more than $300 million in construction happening on base now and what's yet to come.

Military, business and political leaders heard about the changing landscape of Dover Air Force Base and how many millions it will cost at the annual military construction briefing breakfast Oct. 18.

Col. Manson Morris, commander of the 436th Airlift Wing, led the full house through details regarding the maze of construction on base, from the new fitness center to the soon-to-open Fisher House for families arriving for a dignified transfer.

“A lot of these facilities are critical to our base support functions, and they also enable the partnership that we have with the local community,” Morris said.

Morris touched on some of the 127 capital improvement projects totaling $126 million, and the 22 projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act totaling $53.2 million.

Those don’t include the $3.5 million in gifts in the form of the Fisher House, a meditation building and garden to create an enclave for families of the fallen.
Also on tap is $133 million in future spending for a series of maintenance hangars also outfitted with office space.

Morris said the year has been an exceptionally busy one in terms of construction projects. Although the work is being done on base, it also means work for off-base companies.

“We are very dependent on the local community for material and execution resources that make all this construction possible,” Morris said.

Gov. Jack Markell spoke briefly before Morris, and said that when he took the reins as governor, multiple advisors told him to never forget the importance of the base to the county, and the state as a whole.

“We get, here in Dover, here in Kent County, and here and throughout the state of Delaware, how important this base is to our state’s future,” Markell said.

Sen. Tom Carper spoke at the close of Morris’s comments, and said he was happy to see stimulus funds going toward not only creating jobs, but also toward helping people do a better work at their existing ones.

He noted that although he hoped the military would need airlift services less in the future, he doubted that would be the case.

“We’re going to need it big time, going forward,” Carper said.

Email Sarika Jagtiani at sarika.jagtiani@doverpost.com