FORT DRUM, N.Y. (May 18, 2018) -- Construction on a new Army and Air Force Exchange Service Express at Fort Drum began May 14 with a groundbreaking ceremony. The convenience store and gas station will be located near the intersection of Ontario Avenue and Tigris River Valley Road.

When completed in March, the 12,700-square-foot Ontario Express will feature an Arby's, as well as a selection of items from the Exchange's Healthier Choices BE FIT assortment, such as fresh fruit, yogurt, tuna, veggie chip and bottled water.

Col. Kenneth D. Harrison, Fort Drum garrison commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Ryan Alfaro, garrison senior enlisted adviser; Kurt Hauk, Fort Drum Public Works director; and Jim Osborne, Fort Drum Exchange general manager, participated in the groundbreaking ceremony.

"This is a fantastic location for an Express. It will be a great alternative for our Soldiers and Civilians who work at this corner of the post because of its convenience," Harrison said. "We're excited for this to be here, and I know it takes a lot of work to make it happen."

Paid for entirely by Exchange earnings, it will be the sixth Express at Fort Drum and equivalent in size to the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield Express, which was the latest one opened in 2007.

"It's an $8.3 million investment that the Exchange is making at Fort Drum to continue our commitment to the service members and their Families here," Osborne said.

Shopping and dining at the Exchange and Express benefit Soldiers and military families as 100 percent of Exchange earnings support the Fort Drum community. In 2016, the Exchange contributed more than $1.3 million to Quality-of-Life programs at Fort Drum.