Community welcomes opening of Minnesota National Guard’s new Luverne Armory

Members of the Minnesota National Guard, local community, and state representatives gathered at the newly constructed Luverne Armory for a ribbon cutting ceremony and tour of the facility December 09, 2023. 

“Today marks not just the inauguration of a facility, but the embodiment of our unwavering commitment to service, community, and country,” said Army Lt. Col. Mark Gile, the commander of the Minnesota National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery Regiment. “The completion of this project represents a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to support and strengthen our forces, the city of Luverne, and the state of Minnesota.” 

Initially, the Luverne Armory project was not on the Minnesota National Guard’s Readiness Center Transformation Master Plan, which deals with building, divesting and consolidating facilities across the state. However, when the local KAHR Foundation came forward to donate funds to expedite the project and the City of Luverne identified land for development of a new facility, the project became a priority. 

Retired Col. Warren Herreid II., a representative with the KAHR Foundation, recalled the history of the Luverne Armory and his hope for the future. 

“In the 1920s the old armory was built, so it’s been there for over 100 years,” Herreid said. “Since then, there has been over 14 unit designations that have drilled in the armory. Many of them infantry and several artillery units. The county has provided Soldiers to defend the United States in every war since the civil war. The new facility in Rock County will hopefully ensure that that support continues.” 

An official groundbreaking ceremony took place on December 14, 2021, and construction on the new facility began in April of 2022. The new $17.5 million facility is around 46,293 square feet in size, more than twice that of the old Luverne Armory. The new building features assembly halls, work bays, storage areas, classrooms, a learning center, and a fitness center with locker rooms. Additionally, new energy-efficient features and design helped certify the structure as a Leadership in Energy Environmental Design Silver facility by the U.S. Green Building Council. 

Wade Sand, a field representative of Missouri River Energy Services, and City of Luverne Mayor Pat Baustian presented a check to the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs for $10,194 to Army Lt. Col. Adam Riedel, the Minnesota National Guard’s construction and facility management officer. 

“The City of Luverne and Missouri River Energy Services would like to present this check to Lt. Col. Riedel,” Baustian said. “This is for the energy conservation measures that you have implemented into this facility.” 

Baustian then presented a proclamation, declaring Dec. 9, 2023, as Minnesota National Guard Readiness Center Day for the City of Luverne. 

Before leading attendees outside for the ribbon cutting portion of the ceremony, Gile expressed his gratitude for the support of the community. 

“I’d like to extend my deepest appreciation to all that joined us today in celebrating this significant milestone,” he said. “Your presence here has underscored the unity, the strength of our community, and the Minnesota National Guard. Let us carry forward the spirit of dedication and collaboration that this new armory symbolizes.”

By Sgt. 1st Class Sirrina E. Martinez 
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs