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Reese Technology Center to gain funding from proposed bill

Published: Feb. 11, 2015 at 12:27 AM CST|Updated: Aug. 11, 2015 at 7:27 PM CDT
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Charles Perry
Charles Perry

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Nestled on 2,500 acres are memories of a facility that reached great heights.

"I've always loved Reese," Reese Technology Center Executive Director Bill Miller said. "I've got pictures of my little girls in the cockpit of an F-4 phantom."

The Reese Air Force Base here in Lubbock served as an air training command facility but despite the success of its program, the base made the Pentagon's list for base closures in 1995 and closed in 1997.

"People thought it was the end of the world. It's difficult here because we're not a large urban area," Miller said. "We don't have a lot of industrial development out here; so you have this 2,500-acre asset with runways, and where do you go from here?"

A new bill proposed by Senator Charles Perry may be able to help lead Reese in the right direction.

"It was brought to my attention that for Reese's benefit - we discovered that the timeline didn't accommodate Reese and we just started questioning and answering and it didn't make sense that Reese shouldn't be under that umbrella," Perry said.

Perry says there is already a bill in place that offers grants and loans to bases closed between 2005 and now. His bill, SB 503, proposed a change to those dates to accommodate bases that were closed as early as 1995.

If the bill is passed, bases that qualify for its funds will need to provide a list of projects that focus on areas like job creation and infrastructure.

"We got a unique asset out here," Miller said. "Our challenge will be, there are others who think their asset is just as unique. Ours really is because there isn't any like us around here."

Since its closure was first announced, Reese's redevelopment committee has been in charge of reinventing the facility and finding other means to sustain it.

"There have been a line of people who have picked up the ball and said, 'At worst, we can sustain it; now let's figure out how we can build on it,' and that has been happening," Miller said. "This is the kind of asset that if you just let it lie dormant and you don't have any imagination, the decline curve and economic obsolescence with the facility can really go down."

The facility has attracted unique leasing customers from both public and private sectors across the nation. Texas Tech, South Plains College, and the Lubbock Police Department are all present at the facility.

Miller said industry leaders like the Zachry Group, Wyle Aerospace, and G.E. Wind have been great corporate partners as well, making Reese a hub for technology, research and education, and opening the doors for more opportunities.

"We've got a great team here. I like the history of Reese, but there's a future to it," Miller said.

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