| Minnesota National Guard stays busy at Arden Hills site
Work is nearly complete on the Minnesota National Guard's $15 million, 61,000-square-foot Readiness Center, located on former Army land in Arden Hills. (Jacobs was the architect.) The Guard meanwhile plans to start work in September on a $29 million, 98,000-square-foot field maintenance shop, shown in this rendering from BWBR Architects.
The future of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition plant site in Arden Hills might be still up in the air, but at least part of the area already has a bright future as a Minnesota Army National Guard location.
The Guard is finishing construction work on a $15 million, 61,000-square-foot armory, now called readiness centers, and plans to seek construction bids soon for a $29 million, roughly 98,000-square-foot, maintenance shop for the Guard's vehicles.
Work on the field maintenance shop is expected to start in September, with likely completion in February 2013. The maintenance shop won't be the end of the work either. The Guard also plans to build a second readiness center, a $17 million project including about 70,000 square feet, starting in 2013.
The idea, more than a decade in the making, is to provide a more centralized location for Guard training operations around the Twin Cities, said Col. Bruce Jensen, the Minnesota National Guard's construction and facilities management officer.
"It provides an area for them to do more small-unit type training," Jensen said.
The projects are also providing much-needed work for a construction industry still reeling in the recession's aftermath. "We'd like to have more work in the private sector, but we'll take any work," said David Semerad, CEO of the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota.
Jensen didn't have estimates about how many construction jobs are involved with the projects. But Dianne Holte - whose Ramsey-based Holte Contracting partnered with Calgary, Alberta-based Graham Group as the general contractor estimates - at least 100 construction workers labored on the readiness center.
Besides work, the readiness center provided Holte's company with experience. Graham provided mentorship for Holte under a U.S. Small Business Administration program. Holte generally works on projects that are less than $3 million, but Holte thinks her firm may take on larger projects in the future.
"You have to keep reinventing yourself just to stay in business and survive," Holte said.
The readiness center will be mostly completed in October, after which it will be a home base for more than 200 troops of the 147th Human Resources Company, currently based in Roseville, and the 1135th Forward Support Company, currently based in Austin, Minn.
"There will be units assigned to that facility, and they will actually drill there on the weekends. There will be some fulltime support personnel that will work there," Jensen said.
The move will free up some sorely needed space at the units' respective armories.
More efficiency is also the name of the game for the field maintenance shop.The Minnesota National Guard is still operating out of facilities that are decades old, including armories constructed in the early 20th century when internal combustion engines were more of a curiosity than a military tool.
After construction finishes in February 2013, the maintenance shop will have 18 repair bays and 35 staff working on everything from Humvees to transport trucks.
All of the work is taking place on 300 acres on the southern border of a total 1,500 acres that the Guard acquired from the Army in 2001 after the closure of the ammunition plant. The Guard plans to leave alone the remaining 1,200 acres, using it for training maneuvers.
The Minnesota National Guard land is to the east of hundreds of acres still under the control the Army. Ramsey County officials have been promoting the Army land, east of Highway 10 and north of Highway 96, as the site of a potential Minnesota Vikings stadium.
Team officials have said they hope the Legislature will consider a stadium bill in a coming special session.
Story by Chris Newmarker
Finance & Commerce
18 July 2011
Finance & Commerce
Local rails get Guard to mission
Posted: 2015-07-02 01:09 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Across the state of Minnesota, more than 4,500 miles of active railroad track is used to move material, equipment and passengers - an extension of a system which started on May 22, 1857.
"Burlington Northern - Santa Fe Railway has a rich history supporting our military, reaching back to the Civil War. Today BNSF still works closely with the Department of Defense to coordinate movement of large equipment by rail, including to and from Camp Ripley, near Little Falls," said Amy McBeth, a spokesperson for Burlington Northern - Santa Fe.
In addition to three classifications of railway systems, the federal government identified a system of railroads for the purpose of moving government equipment to support the defense of the United States.
851st Vertical Engineer Company Raises the Roof
Posted: 2015-07-01 08:49 AM
RACINOVIC, Croatia -Members of the 851st Vertical Engineer Company, in conjunction with the Croatian Army and United States European Command, have partnered together to help the small village of Racinovic, Croatia.
The area was hit last year by disastrous flooding that destroyed many of the homes and farms. The closest dam broke, leaving the area under many feet of water and nearly everyone stranded and forced to evacuate.
The Office of Defense Cooperation and Humanitarian Civic Assistance Program helped provide labor, supplies and the people for communities in need all over the world. For this particular project, more than 30 Minnesota National Guardsmen have joined forces with their Croatian counterparts to rebuild the roof of the community center in less than three weeks.
Minnesota National Guard participates in Pride Festival
Posted: 2015-06-30 09:49 AM
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - In observance of LGBT Pride Month the Minnesota National Guard's 347th Regional Support Group hosted a booth at the Minneapolis Pride Festival in Loring Park, June 27-28, 2015, with volunteers from the 147th/247th Financial Management Support Detachments.
According to tcpride.org, "Twin Cities Pride is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Minnesota corporation that brings the greater LGBT community together to commemorate our diverse heritage, foster inclusion, educate and create awareness of issues, and celebrate achievements in equality."
For many onlookers at the festival, there was an element of surprise with the Minnesota National Guard's presence, but it didn't take long for the outpouring of appreciation and support from the community.
Large-scale exercises test 1/34th ABCT
Posted: 2015-06-29 08:42 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - In a simultaneous fashion while rolling up to the firing line, Soldiers man the crew-served and main gun weapon systems onboard their M1A1 Abrams tanks and identify targets at Camp Ripley Training Center on June 16, 2015 - the first drill of its kind for some Soldiers of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division.
"While my gunner is firing on a target, my tank commander is engaging a truck using his .50 cal., and I see rounds flying from our wingman who's engaging a tank way out there," said Spc. Ted Coy, an Abrams driver with 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry Regiment. "Seeing all the tracer rounds cross while our platoon is firing at different targets at the same time is one of the coolest things I've ever seen."
The gunnery and maneuver exercise that Coy and his platoon conducted was one of the many integrated training events the 1st ABCT has been conducting during its Exportable Combat Training Capabilities exercises - a training period spanning from May 2015 to August 2015.