The Iowa National Guard broke ground Wednesday at Camp Dodge in Johnston for a new Armed Forces Readiness Center. Guard spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hapgood says the new facility will include three buildings with 211-thousand total square feet at an estimated cost of just over 33-million dollars.
Hapgood says the facility is “extremely unique” because it will combine National Guard forces with active U.S. Army forces from the recruiting command and other different armed forces members from the Military Entrance and Processing Station in Des Moines. The center came out of the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommendations.
Hapgood says it combines the services and does several things to help improve the training and readiness of all branches of the military. He says it will house soldiers and train soldiers to facilitate their readiness. Hapgood says every soldier coming into the military in the state of Iowa will have their physical and readiness tests performed at the facility.
Hapgood says while the facility will help improve the training for Iowa troops, there’s also a benefit to taxpayers. Hapgood says facilities used by the military entrance processing are all leased facilities in Des Moines. He says consolidating the facilities will save hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hapgood says the Iowa Guard and active duty services already interact quite a bit.
Hapgood says the virtue of their mission requires them to work with all the active-duty services, and he says it’s important to work together to leverage the best of each others skills. Hapgood says the project is 100-percent federally funded and something Camp Dodge hasn’t seen in some time.
Hapgood says this is the single largest facility project for the Iowa National Guard since World War Two. Hapgood says the only recent project that was larger was when the 185th Air Command converted from fighters to tankers in what was a 45-million dollar project. Hapgood says the Armed Forces Readiness Center should be completed by October of 2008.