ROCHESTER – The New Hampshire Army National Guard has a new $8.9 million field maintenance shop in Rochester.

At 29,000 square feet, the federally funded facility replaces an older, outdated field maintenance shop in Somersworth that will be turned over to the local armory.

Air National Guard maintenance

A new 29,000-square-foot field maintenance shop has been opened for the NH Army National Guard in Rochester.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday morning, Army National Guard officials said the new facility shows their commitment to the Seacoast area. With 2,800 soldiers, the New Hampshire Guard is one of the state’s largest employers, they said.

Chief Warrant Officer-3 Larry Rea is a design and construction branch chief for military construction. He spoke with the New Hampshire Union Leader after the ceremony and explained they have chemical separation systems and specialized cleaning machines that ensure no chemicals used at the facility are leaked into the ground.

With 13,000 KW solar panels, natural gas boilers, LED lights, and an electric vehicle charging station, the LEED silver certified facility is an example of how the military is trying to be more environmentally friendly.

“I can’t speak for Big Army, but I am assuming that they’ve embraced following the LEED process. We are one of the largest users of energy in the world, and we’re trying to curb that use down to the most reasonable amount we can,” Rea said.

Rea said on his end, all Army officials have to say to designers and construction firms on the ground is it has to be a LEED silver certified building and they can take it from there.

U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and Maggie Hassan, D-NH, both recognized the importance of the new facility on the Seacoast.

As a member of the Senate Armed Services and Appropriations Committees, Shaheen helped secure the money for the Rochester facility in the 2017 defense bill and funding legislation.

“This project is an important investment for our state and will improve the military readiness of the New Hampshire National Guard,” Shaheen said in a statement.

Air National Guard mantenance

The new field maintenance shop for the NH Army National Guard in Rochester includes a 15,000-square-foot space to perform repairs on military vehicles.

Hassan thanked the service members and their families in a letter she sent to be read at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“New Hampshire has a proud history of military service, and the continued devotion and sacrifice of our service members and veterans has helped maintain our military as the strongest fighting force and the strongest force for good in the world. This facility will support the maintenance and repair of combat and tactical vehicles for the Guard and help ensure the safety of American service members across the globe,” Hassan wrote.

Congressman Chris Pappas, D-NH, said he is pleased to see the National Guard modernize their facilities across the state.

“Today’s ribbon cutting ceremony in Rochester was another example of the National Guard utilizing federal funds to upgrade equipment and build new facilities so that they can continue their mission,” Pappas said in a statement.

Rochester’s field maintenance shop is one of three in the state. Last year, the New Hampshire Army National Guard opened a $12 million, 34,000-square-foot facility in Hooksett.

The North Country hub for the Guard is in Littleton.