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Altus Unveils Restored Armory

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ALTUS Okla_ A National Guard armory in Southwest Oklahoma celebrated its 50th birthday Monday, unveiling a recent facelift.

It was the city's chance to show of a $3.5M renovation job. The facility was built in 1963 and hadn't received any updates in 30 years, but thanks to a joint effort from the federal and state governments, it has been completely restored. It's outfitted with a new facade, new doors, windows and a new electrical system throughout the building.

Even though this building is only 50 years old, which is actually young in the world of armories, it has become outdated. They hadn't been able to keep up with changes over the years like the demand for internet access and larger storage for the growing amounts of equipment. The actual structure was in good condition, though. So, they were able to determine that the armory just needed a facelift. It's news that delights soldiers and taxpayers alike.

"We're getting back what we give," Sergeant Traci Ross said.

Ross has been in the Oklahoma National Guard for 13 years, and she's bubbling with excitement over the new armory.

"I'm excited because in the 13 years I've been in the military, I've always had to drive to drill," Ross said. "This will be the first time I can get up and drive not even a mile to drill and go home at night to my kids."

Major General Myles Deering was there to take a look around. He couldn't be happier with the re-vamped armory that will serve as a home base for 120 men and women.

"This is a home to these soldiers," Deering said. "They gather here usually more than once a month. So, it's important to have the types of facilities, just like we have at home, a place they call their own."

As a bonus, the tax payers are saving a bundle on this renovation. Thanks to the condition of the existing facility, the State of Oklahoma is avoiding paying tens of millions for a brand new building.

"It's a great savings for the citizens of Oklahoma," Deering said. "The federal government provided half of that cost, so the citizens of Oklahoma get a $14M building for tax payer dollars at $1.5 million Oklahoma money."

If you drive by, it might not look much different on the outside. There's a reason for that. The 50-year-old structure has been deemed an historical landmark, so the restoration was in line with the Oklahoma Historical Society guidelines.

"It is reminiscent of the original yellow brick that was really produced in the 50s and put on the building in the early 60s," Deering said. "This brick is all brand new."

The name on the building is no coincidence either. It's not named after a man or woman, but for the City of Altus.

MG Deering said he wouldn't have it any other way.

"That's what the guard is all about," Deering said. "The guard is about being part of the community. Altus here has a tremendous commitment to the guard and to its soldiers, as our soldiers have a commitment to the community."

This renovation will elongate the armory's life for at least 20 more years.



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