WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), and U.S. Representative Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) today announced the U.S. Air Force approval of $3.22 million to fund the construction of a 4,036-square-foot visitor center at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.

“As a premier military installation and one of the largest employers in the area, Keesler Air Force Base serves the Mississippi Gulf Coast well,” Wicker said.  “With a new visitor center, the base will be able to showcase all it does to serve Mississippi and our nation.”

“A new visitor center, in conjunction with a reconfigured Division Street gate, are much-needed improvements to benefit and serve Keesler Air Force Base and the Mississippi Gulf Coast,” Hyde-Smith said.  “I appreciate the Air Force’s designation of these military construction funds to improve an important military installation in our state.”

“Keesler Air Force Base has been a beacon of strength in south Mississippi for decades, and I have no doubt this new visitor’s facility will help share the base’s rich history with all who visit,” said Palazzo.  “I gladly welcome this funding as it is one of the many positive results from congressional, appropriations and I look forward to following the construction of the new facility.”

“This project was a joint venture and years in the making.  We are thankful for a close partnership with the City of Biloxi and the State of Mississippi for their commitment of funds to the upgrades on-base and their development of Division Street off-base, as well as, our Navy’s construction element for executing the construction funds,” Col. Heather Blackwell, 81st Training Wing Commander said.  “This will continue to strengthen the deep partnership we have with our local communities by providing a direct path to downtown Biloxi, and quicker access to the surrounding area.  Additionally, the new Visitors Center will improve the experience of all visitors to Keesler AFB.”

The new building will handle all visitor access to Keesler.  In addition to construction, the project will include landscaping, parking, signage, lighting, fire protection, HVAC, and all associated utilities at the new building.