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319th SFS to open newly renovated firing range

Members of the 319th Security Forces Squadron fire their weapons in the prone position Oct. 21, 2016, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. The combat arms instructor team used the experienced security forces members to test the functionality of their newly-renovated firing range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Sparks)

Members of the 319th Security Forces Squadron fire their weapons in the prone position Oct. 21, 2016, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. The combat arms instructor team used the experienced security forces members to test the functionality of their newly-renovated firing range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Sparks)

Staff Sgt. Frank Witmer, 319th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, charges an M-4 carbine rifle Oct. 21, 2016, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. Witmer fired the test rounds for the safety inspection of the newly-renovated firing range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Sparks)

Staff Sgt. Frank Witmer, 319th Security Forces Squadron combat arms instructor, charges an M-4 carbine rifle Oct. 21, 2016, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. Witmer fired the test rounds for the safety inspection of the newly-renovated firing range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Sparks)

A few 5.56-millimeter NATO rounds lie on the ground of the firing range Oct. 21, 2016, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. The newly-renovated range has concrete floors that will allow all fired and live rounds to be properly disposed of better than when there were gravel floors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Sparks)

A few 5.56-millimeter NATO rounds lie on the ground of the firing range Oct. 21, 2016, on Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D. The newly-renovated range has concrete floors that will allow all fired and live rounds to be properly disposed of better than when there were gravel floors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Sparks)

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. --

The 319th Security Forces Squadron here is scheduled to open their newly renovated firing range November 1.

Tech. Sgt. James Layton, 319th SFS NCO in charge of combat arms, said the year-long, $3.5 million refurbishment eliminates the need for Airmen to travel to other bases during the harsh winters that would close the range before the renovations were made.

According to Layton, the earth berm backstop was replaced with a rubber composite backstop, concrete replaced gravel flooring, more sound dampening material was added and a new heating and air system was installed.

Layton said this will be a “soft” opening to meet mission requirements and they plan on having a grand opening when the rest of the renovations are complete in the near future.

Maj. Laura Showman, 319th SFS commander, is excited about what this range can provide.

"The renovated range is beautiful. This is now the nicest range I've ever seen on an Air Force Base. It's exactly what we need for a range in this part of the world; it's enclosed so we can heat it and keep our students' fingers from freezing," said Showman. "This new range is definitely going to improve the quality of our Security Forces annual weapons qualification training and all the training we provide across the base."