October 03, 2014

New Coast Guard facility opens in Jefferson | Shepherdstown Chronicle

Jefferson County became the official home to the Coast Guard Operation Center as officials gathered for the official ribbon-cutting ceremony in Kearneysville. Among the dignitaries present were Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who both praised the Coast Guard for their service and touted the advantages for both the USCG and West Virginia and Jefferson County's economic development.

The new facility, located in the Burr Business Park is a 40,000 square foot building that has helped the USCG combine three facilities into two. At a cost of approximately $13 million to construct, the center currently houses 292 employees and will top 300 government and contact employees at capacity.

Thomas Michelli, Deputy Assistant Commander for C4IT and Deputy Chief Information Office, USCG, addressed spectators at Monday's ceremony explaining that the new location is the preliminary data center for the Coast Guard. The functions of those employed there will enhance the effectiveness of the Coast Guard as a whole, he said.

"We look forward to delivering more for the nation at this facility," Michelli said.

Manchin commended the Coast Guard for seeing the potential of locating in the Eastern Panhandle.

"The Coast Guard has seen the value of locating here, the quality of life, the economy, the proximity to D.C. And the cost effectiveness. It speaks volumes to have this expansion here," Manchin said.

Manchin went on to say that it is the role of every citizen to support America's service personnel despite their opinions on policy. '

"Our support of military personnel goes unquestioned," he said as he commended the Coast Guard for their work in the first line defense of the nation.

Capito echoed those sentiments as she talked of the highly skilled technical jobs now housed in this new business location in Jefferson County. The Congresswoman commented on the potential partnership between Shepherd University and the potential for college graduates to gain employment in the skilled workforce.

"This bodes will for things in the future," Capito sai.d "Jobs will grow here."

Jefferson County Development Authority Director John Reisenweber explained that the project was put on the fast track within the county's planning offices. August 2013 saw the closing on the land and the building was finished in April of this year, he said. He went on to say that the expansion of the OSC center will add to the needed technological support the OSC provides to USCG operations as a whole.

"We are so pleased to have them here in Jefferson County," Reisenweber said.

In addition to Manchin and Capito, greetings were presented from the offices of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Sen. Jay Rockefeller, neither of whom were able to attend Monday's event.

By:  Toni Milbourne