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Officials to seek funding for Ingalls test facility

PASCAGOULA — Jackson County will apply for $20 million in funds to help Huntington Ingalls build a land-based test facility in Pascagoula.

The Mississippi Press reports the Board of Supervisors agreed to apply for the money on behalf of Ingalls Shipbuilding.

Officials say the money would come from Hurricane Katrina-related supplemental community development block grant funds handled by the Mississippi Development Authority. Companies must go through a local government to apply for the funds.

The multimillion-dollar facility would be built on the west bank within the shipyard. It would be used for pre-installation assembly, integration and testing of ship components and equipment, as well as other activities.

In a separate item, a Mobile, Ala., firm has been awarded a $15.6 million contract to build Jackson County’s maritime training facility on Ingalls Shipbuilding property.

The Mississippi Press reports county supervisors and the local port authority awarded the contract Monday to Ben M. Radcliff Contractor Inc.

Ingalls officials say the awarding of the contract should allow it to reach the goal of opening the facility in 2013.

Construction on the 76,000-square-foot facility could begin as early as January and is expected to take 18 months.

The project, funded through a Hurricane Katrina community development block grant, will help Ingalls expand its two- to four-year apprentice program to about 1,000 students.

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