Fairchild Air Force Base would get a new building to house sensitive equipment used to test and fix airplanes under an addition to a military spending bill proposed by Sen. Patty Murray this week.
Murray, D-Wash., added $4.8 million to the Senate version of the military construction appropriations bill for a new building for the Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory, which is currently housed in a building from 1943.
Murray is a member of the subcommittee that works on that spending bill.
Col. John Tobin, maintenance group commander at Fairchild, said PMEL is key to making sure that tools and other equipment are properly calibrated before they are used to work on airplanes. The measuring equipment is sensitive to heat, humidity, vibration or electronic waves, so maintenance problems with the building can interfere with the operation of the equipment.
The building, constructed for the World War II air depot, has a small open bay and may have been used for many things over the years, Tobin said. Although it has been upgraded, “it’s very expensive to maintain, and it’s not very efficient.”
Murray inserted the project as an earmark, meaning the construction project was not on the list the Obama administration sent Congress. Tobin said, however, a replacement building for PMEL has been a priority for Fairchild for the past two years.
“This funding will support one of the least noticed but most important jobs at Fairchild,” Murray said in a press release.