Armory Moving Forward

Published 8:08 pm Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MONTICELLO – Army personnel, state leaders and area officialstraded in guns and pens for hardhats and gold shovels as theyparticipated in a ceremonial groundbreaking on Monday for theconstruction of a new armory just off Highway 84 in Monticello.

The 106th Forward Support Battalion, part of the 155th HeavyBrigade Combat Team, Armory will consist of 52,500 square feet andwill be used to replace the current facility, which dates back tothe early 1950s.

“My guys are excited about getting into this place to work,”said Maj. William Henry, battalion executive officer. “Not justhaving a decent place to work, but an awesome place.”

Funded by federal allocations and a 25 percent match by thestate, the $10.5 million facility will feature administrativeoffices, classrooms, petitioned drill halls, storage space, acommercial quality kitchen, weight room, automobile work bays,additional parking room and more.

“This means that Monticello will have one of the finestfacilities in the state of Mississippi,” said Gen. William Freeman,the state’s adjutant general. “I hope we can afford the utilitybill.”

With 30,000 loads of dirt already infiltrating the new locationacross from the old armory, construction on the new center is soonto follow. Officials expect the new building to be finished in justunder two years.

Members of the Mississippi National Guard are not the only onessetting their sights on a new state-of-the-art readinesscenter.

“When we built this thing, we tried to keep the community inmind,” said Henry. “I think the community will be very proud ofthis armory.”

The new headquarters is expected to bring in eight more jobs tothe area. The facility will also act as a mini convention center,giving local civic clubs and the city an additional meetingplace.

“We haven’t even seen a building and it’s already making animpact in the local community,” said Mayor Dave Nichols. “All thatfuel, all that dirt is being bought locally.”

To some servicemen, the tale of a new armory was beginning tolook more and more like a ghost story. However, roughly seven yearsin the making, officials were finally able to secure the fundsnecessary to construct the new facility.

“This indeed is a dream come true,” said 3rd District U.S. Rep.Gregg Harper. “We’re excited to be a part of this.”