JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Three ships and 2,000 sailors destined for Mayport Naval Station later this year has Mayport schools and nearby maritime businesses ready to serve.
With the federal budget spelling out a delay in a nuclear carrier for Mayport the prospect of smaller ships on the way will fill school seats and bring in more Navy business.
"It's absolutely good news," said Aaron Bowman a former commanding officer at Mayport Naval Station and now the director of business operations at BAE Systems.
BAE which was the former Atlantic Marine shipyard on Hecksher Drive says half of its business is Navy related.
Bowman says the announcement of three small ships including a big deck amphibious assault ship is good for dozens of local businesses that do work for the Navy.
"We have over 50 companies in Jacksonville solely focused on the repair and maintenance of Navy ships. Some of them are very small companies unfortunately some have closed their doors," said Bowman during a tour of operations at the shipyard.
The delay in getting a carrier said Bowman should not be greeted totally as bad news.
"Bringing a lot of smaller ships into the basin is better for the industrial base," said Bowman.
Mayport schools also expected to fill seats with more Navy families moving to the area.
Mayport Middle, Mayport Elementary and Finegan Elementary combined have 800 seats available according to Paul Soares who handles operations for Duval County Schools.
"We have enough capacity," said Soares who noted the schools right now are between 50% to 84% full.
First Coast News