General says NH Guard sites foster '2nd-class' image
The exterior of the New Hampshire State Armory in Manchester is shown in this 2010 photo. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader File)
How NH's Guard facilities rankArmy National Guard facilities in 14 states were reviewed by the national engineering firm Burns & McDonnell, and each state's facilities were given an Average Condition Index. A condition index is based on a variety of factors: number of soldiers affected, current facility condition, site expansion capability, space needed to meet standard, facility age, cost to repair, replacement value, location and community connection.
1. Iowa (Index: 89)
2. Arkansas (Index: 88)
3. Colorado (Index: 85)
4. North Dakota (Index: 83)
5. Arizona (Index: 82)
6. Oregon (Index: 82)
7. Texas (Index: 80)
8. Michigan (Index: 79)
9. Pennsylvania (Index: 79)
10. Virginia (Index: 78)
11. New York (Index: 77)
12. Rhode Island (Index: 75)
13. Massachusetts (Index: 67)
14. New Hampshire (Index: 66)
A recent study by the Army National Guard ranked New Hampshire readiness centers as the worst among the 14 states reviewed.
The Manchester center is undersized by 68 percent, the state National Guard said. Its showers are broken. Its sprinkler system is so outdated the building can't be rented out.
"You could pull up a truck with explosives and basically level the building," Reddel said.
The military construction budget for the Army National Guard nationwide is $321 million this year. Just three years earlier, Congress devoted $874 million to National Guard construction projects.
The wife of an Air Force National Guard pilot, Ayotte said she will continue to press the Pentagon to address the condition of readiness centers across the nation. Ayotte said the budget sequester, which kicks into high gear in 2016, is the biggest threat to military construction projects.
The draft report rates readiness centers in Manchester, Concord and Portsmouth as "failing.'' The Guard still uses the facilities for drills and training purposes. A dozen others were rated "poor.'' The only one to receive a "fair" rating was the joint force headquarters building in Concord, which was built in 2006.
Reddel said it could cost up to $17 million to build a new Manchester area readiness center. It wouldn't be located in the middle of the city. When National Guard facilities are built, state government is expected to contribute the land; the Pentagon pays for the building; and maintenance and upkeep are shared equally.
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