In less than three months, military veterans and their families will have a new place to rest and lounge at Lindbergh Field as a new United Service Organizations building is almost finished.
“It will be the largest USO facility, at an international airport, in the world,” said Colm Marmion, customer relations coordinator with the San Diego County Regional Airport. “It’s meant to be a place where U.S. troops, service members and their families can rest, relax and also get information.”
The 10,000-square-foot facility will offer a computer lab, game room, quiet area, children’s space, offices, televisions, restrooms, showers, a kitchenette and a 24-hour lounge.
Outside, there will be a patio area with a barbecue, palm trees, U.S. and military flags and a walk of honor that will have plaques and pavers with names of military personnel.
“We just started this process,” Marmion said, of the plaques and pavers. “We want to guide people to the USO website so they can help with this fundraising effort and dedicate a piece of the walk to a service member.”
There will also be a public area displayed throughout the new facility. The theme revolves around paintings and fixtures that remind service men and women of their home, Marmion said.
The USO is a nonprofit organization that provides programs, services and live entertainment to U.S. troops and their families.
The new USO building is approximately 85 percent complete and is expected to open June 26.
“It’s almost pretty much finalized,” Marmion said. “We are putting the finishes touches toward the inside of the building and patio area.”
The project was designed by URS. The general contractor on the project is joint venture Kiewit/Sundt.
Marmion said the Airport Authority worked with USO board members and staff on deciding what needs to be in the new facility at Lindbergh Field to keep up with the needs of active duty and retired military personal and their families, now and in the future.
On Tuesdays, recruits come into Lindbergh Field and the USO facility before they are dispatched to local military bases. Fridays are also busy, when graduations occur.
“The airport acts as a gateway for those in the military,” Marmion said. Approximately 130,000 people came though the USO building last year.
The new facility will double the size of the old building, which was demolished, and stands roughly 100 feet from the old one.
The new USO building is also part of a $1 billion expansion project at San Diego International Airport. The Green Build project will add 10 new gates to Terminal 2; a new curbside check-in terminal; a dual-level roadway to separate arriving and departing passengers; more security lanes to improve passenger flow; and an expanded concession area.
Travelers can expect to take advantage of all the finished facilities by the end of this year.