The New Mexico National Guard's Farmington Readiness Center, located at 1101 W. Navajo St. near Four Corners Regional Airport, expands military presence in Farmington and provides a variety of resources that city officials say will help ensure security and emergency preparedness.
"This is a very important day for Farmington," said City Manager Rob Mayes. "The benefits of the Farmington Readiness Center are significant."
Mayes said he expects the center to have a positive economic impact on the community and to assist in providing a more secure environment.
From left: Ben McCune, Andres Calzadias and Jacob Hensley, all JROTC students from Farmington High School, insert magazines in to their M-16 rifles as they get ready to shoot targets in a Fire Arms Training System during the grand opening of the National Guard Armory in Farmington on Wednesday. (Jon Austria/The Daily Times)
"Our National Guard is in constant contact with city of Farmington officials," he said. "They stand ready to deploy if we require assistance with a natural disaster, infrastructure disaster or act of terror. The (city) has worked very closely with the National Guard for several years on this project."
The new facility features an indoor weapons simulation center and expanded classrooms and conference room facilities, said Lt. Col. Steve Garcia, commander of the 226 Military Police Battalion, in an interview Wednesday afternoon.
The $11 million project took about 15 months to complete. It was finished about March 15. The project was funded jointly by the state and federal government, he said.
"It probably tripled the capacity of what we had and increased our ability to provide an emergency operations center resource to the county and the city," Garcia said. "We just completed the move (from the old facility) last Friday."
The new facility houses the 226th Military Police Battalion and the 1116th Transportation Detachment 1, according to an informational pamphlet distributed at Wednesday's ribbon cutting ceremony.
Councilwoman Mary Fischer said the new facility marks an important addition of resources to Farmington's military personnel.
"It should be an asset to the community," Fischer said. "The National Guard armory that I remember when I was growing up was pretty basic. It's good to understand that they're there. You have to take off your hat to them. (Serving in) the National Guard is not easy."
Greg Yee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4606. Follow him on Twitter @GYeeDT.