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NH National Guard opens new maintenance facility in Hooksett

Union Leader Correspondent

August 29. 2018 11:02PM
From left, Hooksett Town Administrator Dr. Dean Shankle, North Branch Construction CEO Ken Holmes, Executive Councilor Chris Pappas, Smith-Alvarez-Sienkiewycz architect Marty Sienkiewycz, Brig. Gen. David Mikolaities, and Chief Warrant Officer David Voight cut the ribbon for the New Hampshire Army National Guard's new field maintenance shop in Hooksett. (Travis R. Morin/Union Leader Correspondent)

HOOKSETT — On Wednesday, members of the military, elected officials, and local citizens gathered to commemorate the ribbon cutting of the New Hampshire Army National Guard’s newest Field Maintenance Shop (FMS) on Hooksett Road.

A product of nearly four years of planning and construction, the $12 million federally funded Hooksett shop will consolidate the Army’s current field maintenance shops in Manchester and Hillsborough, and will support operational readiness by ensuring that military vehicles and equipment are “mission capable.”

Sitting on 19 acres of land and sporting a footprint of just over 26,000 square feet, the Hooksett shop is the first new maintenance facility that the Army has constructed in New Hampshire in more than 30 years.

The facility was designed by Smith-Alvarez-Sienkiewycz architects of Burlington, Vt., and built by North Branch Construction out of Concord, and comes equipped with three drive-thru work bays, a classroom, and fitness center.

Brig. Gen. David Mikolaities, the adjutant general of the New Hampshire National Guard, said the new facility represents the military’s transition to meeting the challenges posed by traditional nation states rather than international terrorist groups.

“Military strategy has all changed,” said Mikolaities. “What we’re doing in the Department of Defense is based on our national military strategy. It’s not counterterrorism against asymmetric threats like Al Qaeda, ISIS or whoever. It’s now going back to the great power competitions against nation states.”

Saying that keeping up with rival nations like Russia and China requires the ability to maintain “decisive action,” Mikolaities highlighted the important role that the Hooksett shop will play in the nation’s security.

“When you do decisive action, how do you sustain that? Either it’s personal readiness or equipment readiness. This is our vehicle equipment readiness,” said Mikolaities in reference to the new facility. “When you put that together, you realize that little Hooksett, N.H., is a big deal.”

While the building is still awaiting its furniture, Lt. Col. Gregory Heilshorn said they expect it to arrive sometime in October or November, with Dec. 1 slated as the date officials anticipate the facility to be fully operational.

After touring the building, Executive Councilor Chris Pappas — who played a role in approving the purchase of the land for the Hooksett shop in 2015 — said the project was an example of how to bring federal dollars back into the Granite State.

“It’s an impressive facility and quite an upgrade from the field maintenance shop in Manchester,” said Pappas. “I think this is an important way to capture federal money that’s available, improve an aging facility and make sure that our force is ready.”

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