Craig Day, News On 6
MCALESTER, Oklahoma -- In a room full of local, state and military leaders, a special ceremony was held Thursday to officially open a new Armed Forces Reserve Center in McAlester.
"This is a facility we can be proud of, not just the military, but the community as a whole," Major General Myles Deering, Oklahoma Adjutant General, said.
Once the ribbon was cut, tours of the 54,000 square foot facility began. The center will be shared by the Oklahoma National Guard and the Army Reserve.
"This is a fantastic facility, it really is the future," Col. Michael Teague, Army Corps of Engineers, said.
The new facility includes offices, classrooms, a weapons simulation room, large equipment room and a separate maintenance facility with everything needed to do work on military vehicles.
The center will also house a family resource center which is important to military families.
"When soldiers are deployed, their families have a place to go for information and help and assistance in any way they can get it," Major General Deering said.
The facility is one of seven new armed forces reserve centers that have or are being built across Oklahoma, replacing about 50 old rundown armories.
Compared to those armories, the new reserve center is much more energy efficient and economical, and offers new technology.
"It gives them the environment they deserve to operate in," Major General Deering said.
"It lets them bring that technology in here and lets them bring instructors in here; it's a great facility for that," Col. Teague said.
As soon as the tours are finished, the guard and reserve members will be able to move in, beginning a new chapter in a new facility.
"It's incredibly important to both the guard and the reserve," Col. Teague said.
New Reserve Centers have already opened in Norman and Mustang. New ones will soon open in Broken Arrow, Muskogee and Enid.
The center in Broken Arrow will be Oklahoma's largest one.