Etcetera - 12/05/12

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A building in Milton-Freewater rapidly approaching the venerable age of 60 is in need of some work, cosmetic and otherwise.

Col. Christian F. Rees, director of installations with Oregon National Guard Joint Force Headquarters in Salem, discussed plans to refurbish the Milton-Freewater Armory during a Milton-Freewater Rotary Club meeting.

Built in 1954, the facility used by the 1186th Military Police Company will be refitted through a $3.5 million project, expected to kick off before the end of the year. It's part of the Oregon Military Department's program started in 2004 to replace or refurbish the state's 3 million square feet of facilities.

Expected to take about 12 months, the 19,300-square-foot renovation will start with the current structure. An additional building will be built to the north, and an area to the northwest will provide a covered outdoor facility for various events. The primary entrance on Main Street will be shifted to Shields Avenue, with another entrance at the back of the main building. More parking will be added.

A large drill hall, classrooms and support facilities will be in the primary building. Military vehicles will continue to be situated in a renovated compound area east of the main facility. Maintenance shops and unheated equipment storage will be in a separate building adjacent to the compound. A Salem contractor will manage the project and a portion of the on-site work will done by local businesses, contractors and organizations.

All of the work will be done to Leadership in Energy Efficient Design standards to ensure maximum energy efficiency with minimum environmental impact. While the final design has not been generated, some solar panels may be installed on the roof to supplement the energy needs.

Rotarians were told that the National Guard is available for various missions, a high priority being to aid the community when difficult times arise. The facility will also be available for use by local groups and organizations for community activities, which has been an ongoing service in prior years.

Christian said $6.5 million of construction work under way at the Oregon Military Museum at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas will transform the old armory into a regionally significant, state-of-the-art home for artifacts dating from the Civil War era to present day. When it is completed it will be located at 15300 SE Industrial Way, in Clackamas. Follow the progress on www.oregonmilitarymuseum.org.

Rotarian Robby Robbins is indispensable as a correspondent with his informative reports about meetings, including this one. For more details, contact him at 541-938-6523 or robby@valint.net.

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