Panel seeks $22.4 million for construction at Letterkenny Army Depot

July 19, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - It still has to be approved by the Senate, voted on by the House and signed by President Bush, but the Senate Appropriations Committee has requested $22.4 million for military construction at Letterkenny Army Depot for the 2009 fiscal year.

The markup of the appropriations bill for military construction was completed Thursday, according to a joint announcement from Pennsylvania's U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter and Bob Casey.

At the requests of Specter, a Republican, and Casey, a Democrat, the committee included $7.5 million for modifications to ammunition igloos at the Letterkenny Munitions Center. The funds would modify 107 of the reinforced concrete ammunition bunkers, depot spokesman Alan Loessy said.

The depot has 902 igloos, built in the 1940s. In recent years, the depot has modified almost 100 of them.

Upgrades have included installing wider doors and removing steps to make them accessible to vehicles so they can handle the missiles and other larger ordnance now stored at Letterkenny.


More than 100,000 tons of ammunition and ordnance worth more than $6 billion are stored at the depot, according to the senators' press release.

Loessy said this is the final planned phase of igloo modifications.

Another $14.9 million was put in the bill for the construction of an Army Reserve Center, according to Casey and Specter. The money will be used to build a training facility for as many as 300 soldiers with administrative areas, classrooms, an assembly hall, arms vault, kitchen, equipment storage, physical training rooms and maintenance.

The center will also have an area maintenance facility for larger vehicles and equipment.

The depot has some facilities for reservists, but not on this scale, Loessy said. A contract for the construction is expected to be awarded in January 2009 with the center set to be completed by the fall of 2010, he said.

"Letterkenny Army Depot is a cornerstone in Southcentral Pennsylvania, and I am pleased that my colleagues have appropriated the funds to improve infrastructure which will enable Letterkenny to thrive and contribute to our nation's defense," Specter said in the press release.

"The depot plays a vital role in Southcentral Pennsylvania's economy and I will continue to work with Sen. Specter to push for projects that enhance our nation's military readiness," Casey said.


The Letterkenny Army Depot is the largest employer in Franklin County with more than 3,000 federal and contract workers.

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