Austin National Guard armory gets update with Albert Lea to follow
Published 10:01 am Wednesday, January 21, 2015
By Trey Mewes, Austin Daily Herald
AUSTIN — Austin’s National Guard unit has come home.
The 224th Transportation Company and the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday for the newly renovated National Guard Armory.
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“The thing that remains the same is this is the Austin National Guard,” said Sgt. 1st Class David Gansen.
The Austin Armory serves as home to the 224th Transportation Company Headquarters, providing training space for 100 soldiers each month. The armory is also used by community members regularly for weddings and benefits.
The 22,000-square-foot building was built in 1964.
The $3.7 million, year-long renovation completed in October 2014 includes a new roofing membrane, modernized kitchen, female locker and shower facilities, physical fitness training room, ADA accessibility improvements and addition storage areas.
Aesthetical improvements included adding clerestory windows in the drill hall, window treatments, fresh interior paint and new flooring.
Additional mechanical and electrical improvements to the armory focused on safety and energy savings. The renovation includes a new high efficiency heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system throughout the facility with remote monitoring and control, as well as fire sprinkler system and new plumbing fixtures. In addition, interior occupancy sensing lighting for optimal energy savings was added, electrical wiring, outlets and fire and smoke alarm systems were updated. A new public address system for the drill hall, as wells as a mass notification system for the entire building was installed.
The chamber of commerce ambassadors, several area businessmen and a dozen former guardsmen toured the facility Tuesday as well.
“It’s very nice,” former 2nd Platoon Sgt. Dennis Mullenbach said. “It looks like it’s well-built.”
Austin service members were stationed in Rochester during the renovations, which took place most of last year. Gansen said the armory would still continue with upgrades.
“We’re still making this place better,” he said.
The Austin unit will soon have company. The Albert Lea National Guard Armory is set to undergo renovations soon, so that unit will drill in Austin for six to 10 months this year.