| 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
Vessey Chapter President Warns of Cuts to Minnesota Guard
Posted: 2014-10-22 09:00 AM
SAINT PAUL, Minn. - During an interview this weekend on Minnesota Military Radio, Col. (Ret.) Don Kerr warned listeners of the coming effects on the Minnesota National Guard due to congressional gridlock. Kerr, the president of the Vessey Chapter of the Association of the United States Army, reminded listeners that the coming automatic budget cut, known as sequestration, has returned and will mean a loss of about 80,000 Soldiers across the Army nationwide.
133rd Airlift Wing Welcomes home Security Forces Squadron members from deployment
Posted: 2014-10-16 09:34 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn.- Thirteen airmen from the Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing Security Forces Squadron are scheduled to return Friday to Minnesota following a four-month deployment to Southwest Asia.
"During this deployment, the 133rd airmen melded with their active duty counterparts and utilized their citizen-airmen experiences and training to help fight the war on terrorism in an overseas environment," said Col. Terrance Sieben, the security forces squadron commander.
MPD Sgt. Blackwell: 'We're human, we have hearts, we care about people'
Posted: 2014-10-15 08:42 AM
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.(KMSP)- Talking with Minneapolis police Sgt. Katie Blackwell, it's clear she truly cares about her job and the people who live and work in the first precinct.When a man was sexually assaulting women in Ramp C downtown last week Sgt. Blackwell took it personally, making his arrest a top priority. The suspect was in custody within 48 hours.
"We just won't tolerate predators walking through our city and our communities, so yeah, I took it pretty personally," Sgt. Blackwell said.
To understand why she cares so much, one has to know where she's coming from, and it's quite a story. She grew up one of 10 kids in northeast Minneapolis, something Sgt. Blackwell says helps her connect with her community.
National Public Land Day supports community project
Posted: 2014-10-14 01:46 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- Little Falls High School students joined members of the Camp Ripley environmental team on Oct. 2, 2014, to assist with a forestry management project.
"We are always looking for projects outside the classroom," said Doug Ploof, agricultural sciences teacher at Little Falls High School. "Exposure to the kind of hands-on work done in this field is great education for these kids. Their enthusiasm to come on the Camp Ripley and work with people doing this everyday made the hard work well worth it."
Stop, Think, Connect: Navigating the Cyber World Safely
Posted: 2014-10-10 09:14 AM
ST. PAUL, Minn.-National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is observed every October and was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online.
The Minnesota National Guard is taking part in the awareness campaign, but it doesn't just stop there.
"Though it is cyber security awareness month, our approach is to provide outreach continuously," said Col. Stephanie Horvath, Chief Information Officer, Minnesota National Guard. "We are constantly focused on improving situational awareness on cyber security."
American, Kuwaiti aviation work toward partnership
Posted: 2014-10-10 07:51 AM
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait- Three Kuwaiti air force crew chiefs visited Camp Buehring on Oct. 14, 2014, for a partnership visit with 2/147th Assault Helicopter Battalion to strengthen the interoperability relationship between the U.S. Army and Kuwait air force.
"Our goal is to increase the aviation partnership from which we can build cross training and mission training relationships," said 1st Sgt. Randall Carter, C Company, 2/147th AHB.