ROME, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – A ribbon cutting was held for a long-awaited project at the United States Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate, also known as Rome Lab.

A new, state-of-the-art, entry and visitor control center is now complete – a monumental $14.8 million MILCON security project for the facility.

This includes a 9,000-foot perimeter fence that stands at 8 feet high – keeping the entire campus safely enclosed, and access limited to only the new Air Force-compliant entry-control point.

“For years and years at the existence of Rome Lab we’ve never had that, so someone with a commercial vehicle could come in with anything you could imagine,” said Gabe Sbarglia, Chief of Integration & Operations Division at Rome lab. “So, this lets us search that, and in a proper manner.”

MILCON stands for military construction, which is a specific way to fund projects through the federal government.

This moment in history will bring about a new level of safety for all those who work, and visit, the lab; something that has been in the works for quite some time now.

“I think it really started back in 9/11,” said Sbarglia, “So, way back in 2001 there was a bigger thrust on security, and they all got their heads behind it and started getting the funding together, and it’s taken this long, so it’s really an amazing thing.”

“These MILCON’s are really, really, rare across the whole United States and across the world, so for us to get one right here in Rome, New York, it’s kind of a big deal.”

Work at the lab is done by airmen and guardians of the United States Air Force who work daily to develop the next generation of our nation’s warfighting capabilities.

Representative Claudia Tenney, who advocated for this project, says this is crucial to national security.

“It’s not just about Rome, it’s about New York and our country, and we all need to stand for that,” she said.