Stillwater armory complete

The Stillwater Readiness Center was substantially complete in December, but it reached final completion Feb. 3. (Gazette staff photo by Jonathan Young)
The Stillwater Readiness Center was substantially complete in December, but it reached final completion Feb. 3. (Gazette staff photo by Jonathan Young)

Feb. 3 marked the completion of the National Guard’s new Stillwater Readiness Center. The facility adjoins the Stillwater fire station on Maryknoll Drive.

The 79,465 square-foot center will serve as an administrative and training space for the 34th Military Police Company and the 1/34th Brigade Special Troops Battalion. It will replace the 95-year-old armory on Chestnut Street in downtown Stillwater.

Nearly a year behind schedule, the armory was originally slated for completion in March 2016. A groundbreaking ceremony took place in August 2014.

“With a project of this scale, it is not uncommon to have some delays,” Lt. Col. Sol Sukut told The Gazette in an email. “In particular, some combinations of the site’s terrain and extreme weather events affected the timeline to complete this project. As our soldiers are currently able to operate from the downtown building, our primary goal is to work with our contractor to get the best facility for our soldiers even if it takes a little longer than expected.”

The downtown armory is among the oldest of the state’s armory facilities and has long been slated for replacement with a modern building.

“The unit types, equipment, and training needs for the National Guard have changed significantly since the existing building was constructed in 1922,” Lt. Col. Sol Sukut said in an email. “As such, the new readiness center is designed with the current training, supply, and soldier readiness requirements in mind.”

The readiness center features energy-efficient systems (it’s expected to meet LEED Silver standards), classroom space and a gymnasium that will be available for use by the fire department and community. The armory and fire station are designed to allow the two entities to operate independently but share some amenities.

The readiness center was completed within the roughly $18 million budget, according to project manager Justin Skoglund.

Of that budget, $17 million came from the federal government and $1 million from the state. The city of Stillwater purchased the land for the facility.

The National Guard is expected to move in during the next month or two, but didn’t confirm a more specific timeframe.

A grand opening has yet to be scheduled.

Contact Jonathan Young at [email protected]