The Nebraska National Guard unveiled its newest facility today. The $18 million dollar Readiness Center in Grand Island will employ over 200 soldiers from seven units. It’s a 92,000 square-foot facility that’ll be used for training, administration and support. Governor Dave Heineman flew in from Lincoln for the ribbon cutting that he said sends a message about military readiness.
“We’re sending a very powerful message today, that we need up to date, modern facilities to train the young men and women who are serving in the Nebraska National Guard,” Governor Heineman says. “We want them to know, their families to know, and our citizens to know that we need facilities like this so that they’ll be prepared when the time comes.”
The design for the project began in 2010, but the process for Grand Island to win the bid began in 2002. In the end, Mayor Jay Vavricek said the facility was built with mostly federal dollars.
“This is indeed a proud, proud day to acknowledge this opening and continue to convey our deep appreciation for the opportunity to share with you and your men and women,” says Vavricek. “We’ve bid farewell to people from Kosovo and Afghanistan and wrapped our arms around them and welcomed them home. This is what home is all about as well,” Vavricek adds.
Third District Congressman Adrian Smith was also at the Readiness Center for the ribbon cutting. He said the name is fitting, as he says the nation needs to be thinking about the future of our nation’s military services.
“There’s a debate in Washington about resources. Not just monetary resources, but other resources that are afforded to our country that we don’t want to take for granted and we want to use wisely,” Congressman Smith says.
The National Guard broke ground on the facility in 2012. It’s located near the Central Nebraska Regional Airport on East Airport Road.
By Jeniffer Berry, KHAS, Hastings