Milton-Freewater Armory in line for renovation

The state Military Department is embarking on a $2.3 million project to upgrade the 1940s-era facility on Main Street.

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The Milton-Freewater Armory on Main Street. The state Military Department has announced the building is scheduled for a $2.3 million renovation to extend its life and improve energy efficiency. (May 25, 2011)

MILTON-FREEWATER -- The city's aging National Guard Armory is in line for rejuvenation treatments.

The Oregon Military Department has announced a $2.3 million project to renovate the facility. The 1940s-era building houses Detachment 1 of the 1186th Military Police Company which is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan later this year.

The repairs and energy efficiency improvements will reduce operating costs and provide a return on installation of the new equipment, Brig. Gen. Mike Caldwell, Oregon Military Department deputy director, said in a release.

"Renovations like these ensure our facilities can be sustained well into the future," he said.

The work will include installing efficient heating and cooling systems and utility system upgrades to meet capacity needs and current code. Additional improvements will include painting, interior and exterior repairs along with the energy efficient windows, doors and kitchen appliances.

The Armory Service Life Extension Program was initiated by the Oregon Legislature at the request of the Military Department. The money was approved as part of former Gov. Ted Kulongoski's final two-year budget, which ends on June 30.

Armories in St. Helens, Hood River, Newport and Gresham have been renovated to date. The Milton-Freewater facility is the final project in the program.

Work will begin after the project has gone to bid and a contract awarded, said Capt. Stephen Bomar, of the Oregon Military Department's public affairs office.

"We are fortunate that during these difficult economic times we were able to make these improvements to our aging infrastructure," Caldwell said.

"By using federal stimulus funds allocated to the (Military) Department by the National Guard Bureau, we were able to extend this first of a kind program further than we originally intended. It will make a big difference to our soldiers, their families and our local communities."

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318.

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