New Ulm community breaks ground for new Minnesota National Guard armory

The Minnesota National Guard and local community members broke ground today on the site of a new training facility in New Ulm, with construction scheduled to begin immediately and projected  to be completed in approximately 18 months.

“The significance of this armory goes beyond its physical structure,” said Minnesota’s Adjutant General, Army Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke. “It represents a commitment to modernization and innovation within the military. In today’s rapidly evolving world, it is essential that our armed forces have access to cutting-edge facilities and technology to effectively carry out their mission and protect our nation.”

The new $20.7 million facility will be 40,600 square feet, an upgrade from the current 11,000 square foot building in New Ulm which is now more a than 100 years old[A1] . The new armory will feature an assembly hall, unit storage area, classrooms, a fitness center, learning center and  men’s and women’s locker rooms with showers. The building will meet the requirements to be considered a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Silver-registered facility. It incorporates many of the federal and state sustainable infrastructure requirements to include renewable solar, heat recovery systems, and daylighting controls said Army Maj. Michael Thompson, who serves as the deputy of the Minnesota National Guard’s Construction Facilities Management Office.

In addition to housing approximately 20 fulltime staff and 240 traditional drilling Soldiers, the facility will continue to serve the community of New Ulm, Thompson said.

“The readiness center will have the capability to function as an emergency management center in the event of natural disasters in which multiple agencies can operate,” he said.

New Ulm Mayor Kathleen Backer expressed her gratitude to the Minnesota National Guard and all who are involved in the construction of the new facility.

“I want to express my deep appreciation to our partners, to the Minnesota National Guard, and particularly to those who are a part of this project,” Backer said. “We have had a partnership with the Minnesota National Guard since since 1912, so 110 years. That’s a long long time. I know today is about the groundbreaking for a new facility, but we are so grateful that we not only have one new facility, but we also have a field maintenance shop that was recently completed. That’s quite a dedication and commitment to this community and we don’t take that for granted.”

Manke thanked the local community for their donation of the land for the new facility, highlighting the importance of their continued partnership.

“I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Mayor Backer, and the entire community for their steadfast support of our Soldiers,” he said. “ Your involvement today demonstrates the value you place on our military presence in your community.”

The new New Ulm Armory is a part of the Minnesota National Guard’s Readiness Center Transformation Plan, know as RCTMP, a plan to build new environmentally and economically sustainable training centers and to consolidate units into these facilities. The plan was developed after researching 64 armories across the state, examining variables such as conditions, age, capacity for improvements, demographics, diversity, travel considerations for unit members, and future federal and state funding projects.

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Sirrina Martinez
Minnesota National Guard