182nd Airlift Wing dedicates new Operations Building

By WEEK Producer

September 8, 2012 Updated Sep 9, 2012 at 3:55 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Already a finely tuned outfit, the 182nd Airlift Wing had 11-million more reasons to strike up the band on Saturday.

Their new $11-million operations building was dedicated, marked by a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The facility isn't just a more modern and spacious place for the unit to work, but an endorsement of that work.

"The fact that the Air Guard in Washington, D.C. said we're going to put one-third of all of our discretionary funds in Peoria at the 182nd is a huge badge of honor for these men and women who serve out at the guard," said Congressman Aaron Schock (R - 18th District).

And it will allow them to serve at an even higher level of efficiency. The new facility is almost 28,000 square feet, considerably larger than its predecessor.

Not only will it house C-130 operations, but there's additional office space, briefing rooms, and flight planning and training areas. There's even a 137-seat auditorium.

"This facility will provide us the ability to maintain our equipment better when it comes to air crew survival equipment, parachutes, night vision goggles. It will also provide our air crews to mission plan a little bit faster and get out the door," explained Col. William Robertson, Commander of the 182nd.

The air crew flight equipment area in the new building is four times the size of the old one. That means they can do four times the training.

The new operations center is also more environmentally friendly.

"We were able to recycle 96-percent of the construction waste and the building has a geothermal well system," said Lt. Col. Mindy Leach, who is a civil engineer. "The building has a white roof to help with reflectivity."

And the lighting system utilizes motion detectors in order to conserve power.

In terms of upgrading their facility you could say mission accomplished.