By Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana National Guard held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new readiness center at the Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles, Louisiana, June 2.
The original Lake Charles Readiness Center was already on track for replacement in 2022, however Hurricane Laura inflicted large damage to the center which accelerated construction plans.
The new facility will house more than 200 Soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment and 199th Brigade Support Battalion. The facility will have two sides separating administrative and office spaces from the training and classroom spaces. The main building will have storage spaces, vaults for each unit, and shared spaces that include an assembly hall, kitchen, locker rooms and classrooms. The total square footage for the readiness center will be 48,232 square feet.
“Today is a testament to four words: determination, persistence, patience and hard work,” said Maj. Gen. D. Keith Waddell, adjutant general of the LANG. “It’s exciting for our Soldiers because they deserve a state-of-the-art facility: they are the best in the country at what they do.”
The building design is highly energy efficient, meeting LEED Silver requirements and includes a solar system that will power part of the building. Additionally, locating the full time support staff and recruiting spaces toward the front of the building lowers operating costs through reduced heating and cooling requirements.
“Chennault and our Louisiana National Guard are bonded,” said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Kevin Melton, executive director of Chennault International Airport. “We have anticipated this opportunity for several years now, and are honored and excited to see it come to fruition.”
The current construction cost is estimated at $23,100,000 and construction is estimated to be completed by Nov. 3, 2023.