The Naval Submarine Base New London broke ground on a $2.48 million addition to Nimitz Hall this morning, which will include a high-tech submarine simulator that teaches officers and crews how to navigate waters.
“It’s a proud moment for the Navy that this facility get under construction,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy, who attended the groundbreaking. He said the project is the fourth investment the state has made in the Groton base since 2005. The investments total $12 million, he said.
Groton Town Mayor James Streeter said the project demonstrates how much the state values the base.
“It shows a partnership between the state of Connecticut and the base, that it is an important facility to the state,” he said.
The Groton submarine base was among the military facilities looked at in 2005 during the defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) review, Town Manager Mark Oefinger said. One of the conclusions of that process was that the base is old and needs investment, he said.
Oefinger said there is no plan to have another Base Realignment and Closure review, although no facility can be fully protected from closure. But he said bases are evaluated on their military value, and part of that criteria is the condition of the facility.
The project at Nimitz Hall would include construction of a culinary training center to teach sailors how to cook aboard a submarine, as well as the submarine simulator.
Commanding Officer Capt. Marc Denno said the simulator gives sailors a full wrap-around view of waters they would be navigating, “kind of like being in an IMAX movie.”
“It’s about as close as you can come to being at sea without actually getting wet,” he said.