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New medical group building officially opens

Ceremony observers watch from the second floor of the 27th Special Operations Medical Group building during the 27th SOMDG building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. This upgrade has been planned for the last few years. The ground-breaking ceremony was July of 2015 and now, nearly three years later, the building complete and open for patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Ceremony observers watch from the second floor of the 27th Special Operations Medical Group building during the 27th SOMDG building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. This upgrade has been planned for the last few years. The ground-breaking ceremony was July of 2015 and now, nearly three years later, the building complete and open for patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Col. Christopher Patrick, 27th Special Operations Medical Group commander, cuts the formal ribbon during the 27th SOMDG building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. The upgrade to the new medical group facility is just one more way that Cannon is committed to being a premier installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Col. Christopher Patrick, 27th Special Operations Medical Group commander, cuts the formal ribbon during the 27th SOMDG building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. The upgrade to the new medical group facility is just one more way that Cannon is committed to being a premier installation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Col. Christopher Patrick, 27th Special Operations Medical Group commander, delivers remarks during the 27th SOMDG building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. The layout of the new building was designed with patients in mind. Physical therapy and the pharmacy, both high-traffic areas, are located near the main entrance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Col. Christopher Patrick, 27th Special Operations Medical Group commander, delivers remarks during the 27th SOMDG building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. The layout of the new building was designed with patients in mind. Physical therapy and the pharmacy, both high-traffic areas, are located near the main entrance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Members from the 27th Special Operations Medical Group stand in formation during the 27th SOMDG building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. This upgrade has been planned for the last few years. The ground-breaking ceremony was July of 2015 and now, nearly three years later, the building complete and open for patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Members from the 27th Special Operations Medical Group stand in formation during the 27th SOMDG building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. This upgrade has been planned for the last few years. The ground-breaking ceremony was July of 2015 and now, nearly three years later, the building complete and open for patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Cannon Air Force Base Honor Guard members present the colors during the 27th Special Operations Medical Group building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. The layout of the new building was designed with patients in mind. Physical therapy and the pharmacy, both high-traffic areas, are located near the main entrance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Cannon Air Force Base Honor Guard members present the colors during the 27th Special Operations Medical Group building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. The layout of the new building was designed with patients in mind. Physical therapy and the pharmacy, both high-traffic areas, are located near the main entrance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Cannon Air Force Base Honor Guard members present the colors during the 27th Special Operations Medical Group building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. The layout of the new building aims to be more accommodating to customers as the first floor is primarily for family members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Cannon Air Force Base Honor Guard members present the colors during the 27th Special Operations Medical Group building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon AFB, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. The layout of the new building aims to be more accommodating to customers as the first floor is primarily for family members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Military members and civilians applaud during the 27th Special Operations Medical Group building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. This upgrade has been planned for the last few years. The ground-breaking ceremony was July of 2015 and now, nearly three years later, the building complete and open for patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

Military members and civilians applaud during the 27th Special Operations Medical Group building ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., Feb. 23, 2018. This upgrade has been planned for the last few years. The ground-breaking ceremony was July of 2015 and now, nearly three years later, the building complete and open for patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Washburn/Released)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

With a snip from an oversized pair of scissors, the new 27th Special Operations Medical Group facility was officially opened Feb. 23 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.

This upgrade has been planned for the last few years. The ground-breaking ceremony was July of 2015 and even before that the design of the building had to be finished. Nearly three years later, the previous MDG facility, which was built in the 60s, is an empty shell as all equipment and personnel have moved next door to its replacement.

While the facility itself is virtually the same in terms of capabilities (the med group is still an outpatient clinic), the equipment is newer and the layout is vastly improved.

“The new facility is more streamlined for our patients,” said Airman 1st Class Crystal Bishop, 27 SOMDG TRICARE office. “This will be easier to direct patients where to go. Our main areas are downstairs so that’s where most people will be.”

Patients were kept in mind during the design phase. Areas that receive the most traffic are closer to the main entrance.

“We’re trying to keep it convenient for our beneficiaries,” explained Col. Christopher Patrick, 27 SOMDG commander. “{Inside the main entrance,} physical therapy is one of the first areas you can go to. Physical therapy and the pharmacy are the areas that are used the most. The bottom floor is primarily family members. Active duty will primarily be seen on the second floor.”

Overall, there’s excitement about the new facility. Even though the wait has been long, it’s been worth it, Patrick said.

“It is awesome,” Patrick said. “In my 25 years I have never been a part of a brand new facility, so from a personal standpoint it’s awesome. It’s been a tremendous experience, since I took the flag in May, to help push this across the finish line. It’s just been great work by the med group. They have tremendous dedication and commitment to making this happen.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new medical group building is just one more way that Cannon is committed to being a premier installation.