Dirt was turned Wednesday during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC) located at Camp Minden.
Once complete, the $19.8 million project will consolidate and more efficiently house three units currently located at Camp Minden. The units included are the 1083rd Transportation Company, 39th Military Police Company and the 122nd Air Support Operation Squadron.
The AFRC will have a staffing strength of seven personnel. These full-time support personnel will provide the active duty support for more than 430 soldiers and airmen.
"Ten years ago all of this was crumbling," said Charlie Walker, president of the Webster Parish Police Jury. "This is so good for northwest Louisiana."
Senator Robert Adley remembered touring the old LAAP, now termed Camp Minden, from nearly a decade ago. Like Walker, he saw the place was in shambles.
"I said then that this piece of property could be a crown jewel for the area and for the state," Adley said.
And now the site has been in state hands for several years and the National Guard, legislators and surrounding communities are working together it has indeed become a crown jewel.
Echoing Adley's sentiment was Major General Bennett C. Landreneau, Adjutant General of the Louisiana National Guard.
"The success of the National Guard hinges on the strength of its relationship with the community," he said. "This is an example of the strength Camp Minden has with its surrounding communities. This is only possible to achieve through your support."
The new Armed Forces Reserve Center (AFRC) building is comprised mostly of a one-story structure.
The first floor gross area is 64,136 square feet. A second story is provided at the front of the building to provide an additional 14,145 square feet and is comprised of shared classroom/training areas required for all users.
The building occupants and structure are protected throughout by a supervised automatic sprinkler system and a fire alarm system. This is the first AFRC built in northern Louisiana for the National Guard.
The construction phase will take 18 months to complete. The project consists of one main two story building with administrative and training space to include a dining hall and drill hall.
Also included in the project is a stand-alone maintenance building with a paved motor pool area for repairing military vehicles and equipment.
The facility is designed to comply with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver Rating System, using energy management systems with automated HVAC controls and efficient on-demand water use systems.
More energy features include the utilization of natural materials, energy efficient lighting and reduced environmental impact methods during construction.