The nearly completed Armed Forces Reserve Center should be open within weeks, Del. Bill Hartman, D-43rd District, said Thursday.
"The building is done," Hartman told The Inter-Mountain following Thursday's Randolph County Commission meeting. "There's some security lighting that they're in the process of getting completed. They've had some issues that were not in the original contract, and they've had some addendums to that."
Hartman said the $15.5 million military facility, located just off Corridor H near Norton, is "really a beautiful building. It's something to see."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Brad Johnson
The West Virginia National Guard Armory in Elkins will soon be replaced by the newly-constructed Armed Forces Reserve Center off Corridor H in Harding.
He added that the new structure is airconditioned, unlike the current West Virginia National Guard Armory in Elkins.
"I perceive it as a civic center," the delegate said of the new structure. "It's very important to have that meeting space. And it will be available for rental."
After the 50,000-square-foot facility is completed, U.S. Army Reserve Detachment 1 of the 646 Quartermasters and 388 Quartermasters, both of which are currently in Beverly, and National Guard Battery A of the 201st Field Artillery, based in Elkins, will begin moving into the facility.
Approximately 180 service men and women will be based at the complex and will have amenities that include classrooms, computer labs, a fitness center and a recreation room including a basketball court.
Hartman said he is excited about the possibility of local groups banding together to purchase the old armory, which was built in 1961.
"The roof is relatively new," he said. "It's only about seven years old. The boilers are original boilers."
Hartman has put together a group, including the Randolph County Commission, the city of Elkins, the Randolph County Development Authority, and the Mountain State Forest Festival, to look at purchasing the armory property.
"We have to realize, it's not going to be a moneymaker, but it can make a tremendous contribution to the community," Hartman said.
Contact Brad Johnson by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.