Following the biweekly legislative luncheon, a crowd braved windy conditions for the Ardmore National Guard Readiness Center groundbreaking.
Once completed, the $19.3 million, 83,618-square foot building will house three Army National Guard units and serve as a training center and armory. Oklahoma National Guard Colonel Mark Clifton said the original structure was compromised by a natural spring beneath it that took its toll on the building’s stability over time.
“Today marks not a beginning, but yet another chapter in the history of the Ardmore Readiness Center project,” Clifton said. “It has been 12 years since this project was initiated with the loss of the current Ardmore Readiness Center due to structural and other issues.”
Members of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce, Ardmore Development Authority, the Ardmore Tourism Authority, US Senator James Inhofe, representative from Tom Cole’s office, State Senator Frank Simpson and State Representative Pat Ownbey attended the groundbreaking.
Mayor Martin Dyer spoke about the importance of armed forces training and preparedness.
“Ardmore is very fortunate,” Dyer said. “We have Senator Inhofe working with the veterans, we have Senator Simpson, we’ve got Representative Ownbey, we’ve got a whole group here that’s very strong.”
Ardmore Development Authority president Mita Bates spoke about the long process of getting the project off of the ground.
“In 2010, the Authority was approached about a partnership,” Bates said. “We were approached about this particular parcel of land that was owned, at that time, by the Ardmore Development Authority.
Bates said the Oklahoma Army National Guard will stay in its current location until the new center is complete. Once it’s finished, the old location will become the city’s property.
“It truly was a win-win for everyone and we’re very excited,” Bates said.
The new location is slated for completion in May 2019. The building is designed to be environmentally friendly and expected to earn the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver designation.
“In a little over a year, we will assemble here again for the ribbon cutting,” Clifton said.