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New HQ planned for Fairchild

Bill would fund $13.6 million facility

Fairchild Air Force Base will get a new $13.6 million headquarters building under a military construction spending plan moving through the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said the building is part of some $520 million in military construction for Washington next year. A news release from Murray’s office describes the headquarters project as “secured” by Murray, a term for directed spending – also known as an earmark – inserted into a budget by a member of Congress.

But Evan Miller, a spokesman for Murray, said the money is not an earmark because it was in President Obama’s budget. Rather, it was described as secured because it has been approved by the Senate subcommittee that oversees military construction, and on which Murray sits.

“In this climate, things that are in the president’s budget aren’t necessarily going to happen,” Miller said.

The new headquarters will be constructed across Bong Street from the current building, on an area that now serves as the base parade grounds, said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Buzanowski, a base spokeswoman. It will be diagonally across from Heritage Park, where the base displays old airplanes, and will be the first large building visitors see after entering through the main gate. A final design hasn’t been approved, she said.

It will replace the oldest building on base, constructed in 1943, when the facility was a repair depot for bombers. Buzanowski said the old headquarters will be demolished because it can’t be retrofitted to meet Defense Department standards that are the equivalent of the Americans with Disabilities Act.