FARGO - North Dakota Army National Guard units are getting a new $32 million support and training facility in north Fargo
Groundbreaking for the National Guard Readiness Center was held under a bright, sunny sky Wednesday, Aug. 14, on land just west of the Fargo Armed Forces Reserve Center where dirt work and installation of water and sewer lines is already underway.
The new facility will be used to house, support and train elements of the 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, the 191st Military Police Company and the 112th Aviation Regiment.
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The project will total 156,064 square feet, and include a 96,366-square-foot National Guard Readiness Center, a 59,698-square-foot enclosed vehicle storage facility, an entrance facility, a helipad, and other facilities for the more than 300 soldiers, 83 vehicles and other assigned equipment for the three units.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, helped secure funding for the facility.
“It’s only appropriate that the absolutely best National Guard unit in the entire United States has the best facilities and equipment. And that’s what today is all about,” Hoeven said.
Hoeven praised the state’s Guard units, which have deployed around the world, including to the Middle East for the war on terror, as well as in North Dakota and elsewhere in the U.S.
“Flood, fire, tornado, whatever may be going on,” Hoeven said. “Whenever people are in peril and need help, we call you in, the North Dakota National Guard. And you never fail. … You’re ready to respond and get it done,” Hoeven told the assembled troops and civilian workers.
Construction is expected to be complete by June 2021.
Getting the facility has been a decade-long exercise in teamwork, said Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, adjutant general of the state’s National Guard.
“We’re at the beginning of the end now,” Dohrmann said.
“This is incredibly important to the National Guard,” added Dohrmann, who said there are units drilling in cramped, 1950s-era facilities.
“For the National Guard, facilities absolutely drives readiness. Facilities absolutely make us more lethal,” Dohrmann said.
The commander of the 141st, Col. Jon Erickson, called seeing the start of construction “tremendous.”
“It will enhance our ability to train and prepare,” Erickson said.
Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who sits on the Armed Services Committee, said that for years uncertainty of budget sequestration and continuing budget resolutions has affected the U.S. military's readiness.
“A building like this, in Fargo, North Dakota, … speaks to the heart of not only this place, but it speaks to the heart of the mission globally,” Cramer said.
“I cannot tell you enough how much the city of Fargo is proud to have this happen in our community. We truly feel you offer so much to our community,” Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said. “The citizens of Fargo are very proud to have you here.”