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US to spend $240M on Upgrades to Navy Base at Guantanamo

United States intentions to renovate its Cuban Naval base do not include plans for controversial detention center

Chain link fence surrounding the Naval base in Guantanamo, photo: Reuters/Lucas Jackson
1 year ago

MIAMI — The U.S. Navy will spend $240 million to construct new buildings and repair existing ones at its base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a contracting announcement published Wednesday.

Up to five companies will be selected to do the work over the next five years, the announcement said. It described the projects in general terms as new construction, renovation, demolition, and repairs, but did not provide details.

More details about the proposed work will be available later when the contracts are awarded, said Sue Brink, a spokeswoman for Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast in Jacksonville, Florida.

The work does not include any improvements to the detention center, which is located on the Navy base but is provided for in a separate budget.

Separately, the Navy also announced that it had awarded a $63 million contract to Munilla Construction Management LLC of Miami to build a new school for the children of military and civilian personnel assigned to Guantanamo.

The project will consolidate the current two school sites into one for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The existing facilities were described by base officials in a statement as too small for the population and in need of major repairs.

“The quality of life for our residents and their families is of the utmost importance and the new school will provide a great opportunity for our children for many years,” said Navy Capt. David Culpepper, the base commander.

The Cuban government has long sought the return of the base but the U.S. says it has no plans to give up its oldest overseas Navy installation. There are around 6,000 people living at the base, which occupies 45 square miles along Guantanamo Bay in southeastern Cuba. There are currently 79 prisoners at the detention center.

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