By Paul Glasser
The following is reprinted with permission from the Frankfort State-Journal. See the story online at http://www.state-journal.com/news/article/4921995.
[caption id="attachment_3810" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Adjutant Gen. Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini speaks to reporters Thursday about funding for a new facility at the Boone Center National Guard Armory. U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, who sits on the House Committee on Appropriations, which oversees federal funding, listens. (Kentucky National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Oliver, KYNG Public Affairs)"]
Frankfort, Ky. (October 29, 2010) – The Kentucky National Guard is one step closer to getting up to $23 million to build a new joint forces headquarters.
The National Guard received $334,000 on Thursday to design the new facility. Once the design is complete, the National Guard will be in a better position to qualify for initial construction funding – up to $9.3 million in federal funds, Adjutant Gen. Maj. Gen. Edward Tonini says.
“To get this big pot of money, we have to get some of this other money first,” Tonini said. “This is the first domino that needs to fall.”
The base at the Boone Center National Guard Armory lacks a joint forces headquarters, and military leaders say a new facility would deal with crowding problems. Currently, Army National Guard commanders and staff are scattered among more than a dozen buildings.
The project would initially cover 35,000 square feet and house 150 personnel, according to Lt. Col. Steven King, construction and facility management officer.
The $334,000 federal earmark will allow the National Guard to award a contract to design the facility. King said contract negotiations have already begun and design could be complete within six to eight months.
“We want to move quickly on this,” King said.
In addition, the Air National Guard headquarters in Louisville will relocate to the new joint headquarters in Frankfort.
Many members of the Guard also occupy space in the civilian Emergency Operations Center, also located at the Boone center. The new headquarters will allow military officers to move out and for improvements at the EOC.
Moving the EOC will improve the ability to respond during natural disasters, King said.
“It’s a Cold War building without any of the technical advantages you see in many EOCs around the country,” Tonini said.
The joint headquarters will also pave the way for a new $32 million Army aviation support center, Tonini said.
Future plans could also include expanding the joint forces headquarters by more than 55,000 square feet at a cost of $13.5 million. The total size could be 90,000 square feet and cost $23 million.
U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, who sits on the House Committee on Appropriations, which oversees federal funding, announced the $334,000 earmark to fund design work.
Frankfort Mayor Gippy Graham and Franklin County Judge-Executive Ted Collins were also on hand and say they support the project. Collins said the new headquarters will create local construction jobs.