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McEntire JNGB Fire Department construction underway

Brick fire station located at McEntire JNGB with blue sky with open truck bays for crash/rescue vehicles

Ongoing construction of an expanded and upgraded Fire Department at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C. April 14, 2020. The construction is scheduled to last 18 months and provide increased capabilities for the 169th Fighter Wing and McEntire Joint National Guard Base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen Hudson)

Brick fire department building undergoing construction with a blue sky background .

Ongoing construction of an expanded and upgraded Fire Department at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C. April 14, 2020. The construction is scheduled to last 18 months and provide increased capabilities for the 169th Fighter Wing and McEntire Joint National Guard Base. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Capt. Stephen Hudson)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

A nearly $8 million construction project for an upgraded and expanded base fire department is ongoing for the next scheduled 18 months.

The fire department, built in 1986, is one of several ongoing construction projects at McEntire JNGB, part of a base-wide infrastructure improvement program.

The construction will not only improve the existing building, but increase its size by 50 percent to more than 27, 200 square feet. With the size increases, the new building will feature larger bays for fire trucks – bringing it up to industry standards – as well as larger administration space and improved quality of life for first responders.

“It’s going to improve our capability here on base and improve our first responder’s capabilities,” said Col. Tim Dotson, 169th Support Group commander.

Construction began in December 2019 and when complete the renovated Fire Department will be Leadership in Energy Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certifiable.

According to the Base Deputy Civil Engineer with the 169th Civil Engineer Squadron, 1st Lt. Benjamin Douglass, the additional square footage will greatly enhance the training space, dormitories and add a classroom and spaces for Personal Protective Gear including a dedicated room to refill oxygen tanks.

 “It will give them all the bells and whistles,” Douglass said of the upgraded fire department.