Renovation of Jackson armory nearly complete

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Drew Miinch with Hacker Plumbing installs risers for grease interceptors Tuesday at the Missouri National Guard's Jackson armory. The grease interceptors keep the grease from the kitchen drains from going into the sewer mains and clogging them. (LAURA SIMON)

Sgt. 1st Class Byron Wilkerson has seen renovations such as new windows and fencing at Jackson's National Guard armory since he began working there in 2000, but those improvements pale in comparison to the half-million-dollar face lift now underway.

Estimated for completion before the end of the week, the renovation includes remodeled offices, updated heating and air conditioning and a larger kitchen. Wilkerson said those improvements will affect more than the soldiers who use the building.

"Not only does it update some of the outdated equipment, but the project brings about a good appearance of the armory," said Wilkerson, a recruiting and retention specialist at the armory. "As a National Guard armory, we let the public utilize our facility, so it projects a good outward appearance toward the civilian population. And it helps out with recruiting because they'll come in and no longer see an older armory, but now will see a new and modern facility."

Since July, crews from Cape Girardeau-based Boulder Construction and local subcontractors have worked on the project at 224 W. Park St. Crews have replaced outdated paneling with drywall, taken away part of the armory's training room to expand the kitchen and painted and installed new lighting in administrative offices. Desks, computers, locker room and weapons locker were also remodeled.

The building is used by 60 National Guard soldiers during the monthly drill weekend. During the week the building is staffed by about eight full-time soldiers.

Scott Moyers, spokesman for the National Guard in Cape Girardeau, said he believes the public will be impressed by the final product.

"Here in this area we're fortunate to have this modern look that the general public will have an opportunity to visit, especially if they use our kitchen area in an emergency situation," Moyers said. "Also, recruiting is a big part of what goes on here. So if you bring a potential recruit in, it shows that the Guard is committed to a nice place to work with adequate training facilities."

This is the second such renovation to an area armory in consecutive years. The Cape Girardeau armory's $1.5 million in improvements included repaved parking spaces, additional kitchen space and refurbished offices.

Dr. Bruce Domazlicky, director of Southeast Missouri State University's Center for Economic Research, said both projects generate a considerable amount of money for the local economy. Domazlicky estimates the Jackson project will generate an additional $350,000 as the money circulates through the local economy and that the Cape Girardeau project generated more than $1 million.

"Obviously construction has been one of the harder-hit sectors, and it's been the case in this area as well," Domazlicky said. "So when you add those additional jobs, it helps those companies and workers out. It's very fortuitous for the region."

bblackwell@semissourian.com

388-3628

Pertinent addresses:

224 W. Park St., Jackson, MO

2626 Independence St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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