Construction of armory benefits soldiers, area

Published 7:00 pm Thursday, December 29, 2011

    The 106th Forward Support Battalion of the MississippiNational Guard will soon receive a new headquarters.


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    Retired Col. Timothy J. Powell, director of public affairs, saidconstruction began in December 2010 and is expected to last untilAugust 2012.

    The 52,000 square-foot-facility will be located in Monticello nearHighway 84.

    The building is projected to cost $10.5 million, with 75 percentfunded by the federal government and the rest supplied by thestate.

    The current armory, located near the site of the new one, is 9,500square feet and does not have enough room for the growingbattalion.

    “Over the years, as the unit has grown in size the facility hasnot,” Powell said.

    It was constructed in the early 1950s and was becoming difficult tomaintain because it was in a constant state of repair, according toPowell. In addition, many things needed to be replaced or updated,such as water lines, internal plumbing and bathrooms.

    “If you can get the funding, it’s more economical to build a newbuilding for our soldiers,” Powell said.

    The state of the art facility will provide more administrativeoffices, training areas, additional classroom space and a biggerkitchen.

    The classroom space is important because the equipment will allowthe soldiers to be well-taught. Powell said the education processmust be continuous because everything is always changing.

    The weight room will have new equipment, which is necessary for thesoldiers to maintain their physical fitness. There will also be aplace for vehicle maintenance indoors. Also, the parking lot willbe bigger.

    “It is one of the finest facilities in the state, and the Southeastreally,” Powell said.

    The building will also be available for use by the community as aspace to rent, Powell said

    “(The new building) is a win-win for Lawrence County, Monticelloand the National Guard,” he said.

    Powell said the building has helped the community in more ways thanjust a new building.

    “It’s had a good economic impact on the community because all theconstruction cost has been there,” he said.

    Powell said the National Guard has been working on getting fundingsince 2002.

    “We’re just happy to finally get this project funded in LawrenceCounty,” he said. “We’re just proud to be there (inMonticello).”

    The 106th Battalion is part of the 155th Brigand Combat teamheadquartered in Tupelo.