LARAMIE – The new home for the Wyoming Army National Guard in Laramie hosted a ribbon cutting and open house Friday, June 14, at the new facility next to the Laramie Regional Airport.

Special guests, current and former Guardsmen, and members of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance joined members of the Wyoming Military Department and the State of Wyoming at the opening ceremony.

The Readiness Center was constructed as a training facility for the 94th Troop Command, the 133rd Engineer Company, and the 197th Public Affairs Detachment – 160 highly-trained personnel that will train here.

Brett Bautz, construction manager for the State of Wyoming Military Department. He was in charge of the construction of the new facility, which took about 2 years to complete.

“The Army National Guard Unit in Laramie had long-outgrown the existing facility, which was built in 1959. They had a need for the office space, equipment parking areas, and the maintenance of their equipment. The new facility was bought to bring all those things under one roof and upgrade the facility,” Bautz said.

He said the total cost of the project was $26.7 million for the Readiness Center and new vehicle storage building. The new facilities combined equal 101,228 sq. ft. compared to only 31,599 sq. ft. in the old facility.

The 5,400 sq. ft. assembly hall amenities include basketball and volleyball court, polished concrete floor, and a complete audiovisual system. Add another 2,600 sq. ft. for sub-dividable classrooms with video teleconferencing capability, a commercial kitchen, learning center, training facility, equipment cleaning station, 2-bay maintenance shop, four vehicle fueling pumps, three vehicle wash bays, a 38,462 sq. ft. enclosed parking area, and a 30,132 sq. ft. compound.

“We opened up our field maintenance shop just to the south of this facility in 2013. It’s a 49-acre site outside of here. It’s a great place for the Guard to spread out and have a nice piece of land, within the city limits. We’ve got all the city amenities, too – fire protection, water. The land deal that was worked out with the university, it’s been a great partnership between the military department and the University of Wyoming. It got us this land swap out here for the building, which is a great site for university use, but not so good where we needed more room to spread out with our earth moving equipment and other space we needed,” said Bautz.

“Layton Construction did a great job out here. CRSA Architecture and Layton came together and we delivered this project on time and within budget. That’s pretty much all you can ask for,” Bautz said.

One of the guests of honor was Major General Gregory Porter, the new Adjutant General for the State of Wyoming. He was recently appointed by Gov. Mark Gordon on March 23.

“A readiness center is exactly that: it makes soldiers ready. That’s where they do drills, where they do most of their hard work. As we deploy to fight the wars of the nation, or we deploy to respond to natural disasters, it all begins here,” Porter said.

“The work that’s spent, the blood, sweat, and tears that we do at these facilities getting ready for that, is what makes us successful out there.”

Wyoming State Treasurer Curt Meier had a hand in developing the project and was pleased with the results as well.

“I think it’s amazing. I used to chair the Military Affairs Committee when I was a state senator, so this is kind of the fruition of some of the work that we did as legislators. I think the architecture is really stunning for a Guard facility. It’s a readiness facility, so it’s going to help prepare for some of the things, like natural disasters, and also help prepare our Guardsmen in the event they have to deploy. That’s why we built it. It’s a beautiful facility, and it’s something for Wyoming and the community of Laramie to be proud of,” said Meier.