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Fort Gillem money in Senate's budget

By Ed Brock

The United States Senate has approved a military spending bill that includes $7.6 million at Fort Gillem for a parts warehouse and storage complex.

The warehouse complex is the second phase of the construction of a new Army Reserves center, the first phase of which is under construction at the Forest Park facility and is near completion, Fort Gillem spokesman Ron Morton said.

Phase I includes the administration building that will be occupied by about 1,600 people, a medical storage facility and a bay for washing Reserve vehicles.

In September the Army will start advertising for bids on building the warehouse.

Other construction projects at the fort include new buildings for the Army's Criminal Investigation Laboratory and the 52nd Explosive Ordnance Group. The new crime lab is scheduled to be complete in October 2004 and the EOD facility should be done by January of that year.

"This is having a big impact on the base and the community of Forest Park," Morton said.

The spending measure includes a total of $171.2 million for military construction in Georgia, said U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The Senate version of this fiscal year 2004 appropriations bill must still be reconciled with the House version and passed by Congress, before it can be sent to President Bush for his signature.

"Georgia's military installations play a critical role in America's national security," said Chambliss. "Ensuring Georgia's bases have the right missions and resources they need is my top priority. The brave men and women serving in our armed forces are the best equipped, best trained and best prepared in the world."

Chambliss said the Senate bill includes additional funds for two new military construction projects in Georgia:

* $ 7.6 million at Moody Air Force Base for a C-130 maintenance hangar.

* $ 4.35 million at Fort Gordon for a Training Support Center.

Other military construction projects included in the bill are:

* $30 million at Fort Benning for a Multi-Purpose Training Range Complex.

* $15.5 million at Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Air Field for a physical fitness training center.

* $49 million at Fort Stewart/Hunter Army Air Field A for a barracks complex.

* $17 million at Fort Stewart for a barracks complex.

* $8.17 million at Kings Bay Submarine Base for a rifle range.

* $3.34 million at Kings Bay Submarine Base for a waterfront security facility.

* $25.7 million at Robins Air Force Base for a corrosion control paint facility.

* $2.95 million at Robins Air Force Base for a J-STARS flight simulator facility.