LANSING, Mich.— In a 10:30 a.m. ribbon cutting and signing ceremony on Oct. 31, Maj. Gen. Gregory Vadnais, director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and adjutant general of the Michigan National Guard, will oversee the final steps required to purchase a 23,000 sq. ft. building in Traverse City. The site, located at 1402 Carlisle Road, will be remodeled to serve as a Michigan National Guard armory.
“The purchase of this facility is in line with Army National Guard Sustainability Policies and Army National Guard strategic imperatives that call upon us to sustain our strong and historic reputation of being good stewards of financial and natural resources, good neighbors to other states and trusted leaders within our communities,” said Vadnais. “We could spend $18-20 million to build a comparable brand new armory or we could spend $2.6 million plus renovation costs to repurpose an available property, invest in a beautiful Michigan community, and forge new relationships with fantastic group of city leaders. The cost savings, community investment opportunities and other positive factors made the purchase of the Carlisle Road facility an easy decision.”
The facility, built in 2003, was a church for five years then a charter school for another five. When renovated, the building will include a full kitchen, exercise and locker rooms, offices, and meeting areas that are traditional features of a National Guard armory. Due to weather restrictions and other renovation recommendations, troop occupancy will not occur until 2016 at which point a formal ribbon cutting ceremony and open house will be planned.
The Michigan National Guard currently maintains 44 armories across the state. Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature have dedicated state resources toward improving Michigan’s aging armories. Having the proper space to train and maintain equipment goes a long way toward retaining the best and brightest Michigan Soldiers and Airmen. The National Guard Bureau also provides federal funding for a portion of armory improvement projects contributing further to mission success, resiliency, and sustainability.
“The addition of a Michigan National Guard armory in Traverse City, and changes to armories around the state, are necessary to bring facilities up to standard, reduce energy consumption, improve readiness with strategic placement of units across the state,” said Col. Stephen Ward, Director of the Michigan Army National Guard Construction and Facilities Management Office. “It’s definitely a win for all involved,” he added.