AIRWAY HEIGHTS,Wash—Fairchild Air Force Base unveiled its new, $12 million facility Thursday.
In 2011, the U.S. Congress authorized construction to replace the headquarters building that was built during World War II.
For years, airmen raised and lowered the American Flag at the building, dubbed “The White House,” because of its color. On Thursday, airmen raised the flag in front of the new facility.
The base celebrated the opening of the new facility, which was built to modern standards and made more energy efficient.
“Today’s ribbon cutting, on the first day of chilly Spring, signifies the opening of a new chapter of generations of new airmen to come and lead us from this grand edifice,” said Commander of the 92nd Air Refueling Wing, Colonel Brian Newberry.
The previous building was scheduled to be demolished in June. It underwent several renovations and served as headquarters for numerous commands, including the 92nd Air Refueling Wing and the Air National Guard.
“Today is really about so much more than replacing an old wooden building,” said Washington state Senator Patty Murray.
Senator Murray said the opening of the new facility made a statement about the future of Fairchild as the military periodically looks to realign and close bases.
“This new facility wasn’t built for a base that’s going to fade away or become irrelevant,” Murray said. “This facility was built for a base that’s gonna be the home for thousands of men and women in uniform for years to come.”
Colonel Daniel Swain, the commander of the 141st Air Refueling Wing, thanked the crowd.
“Thanks to all of you for your vision, commitment and unwavering dedication toward making us what we are today,” he said. “Two wings, one force, team Fairchild.”
Operations at the new headquarters were scheduled to begin in April.