Laramie Readiness Center

The Laramie Readiness Center off Wyoming Highway 130 just west of Laramie will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday. A public tour of the facility will follow.

The Wyoming Army National Guard in Laramie is ready to celebrate the Army’s 244th birthday by moving into its brand-new readiness center.

The new Laramie Readiness Center, previously known as the Laramie Armory, will open Friday. The ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. and includes a public tour of the facility. The new armory location is 4750 Wyoming Highway 130, near the Laramie Regional Airport.

The old Laramie Armory, located across from the Glenn Red Jacoby Golf Course, was built in 1959. The official name is the Private First Class Donald L. Dewees Armory, named after PFC Dewees, who is buried in the VFW section of Greenhill Cemetery. Dewees was mobilized for the Korean War, in which he was mortally wounded while operating a tank retriever.

“One of the missions of the National Guard is to respond to our state in times of emergency,” said Deidre Forster, Wyoming National Guard state public affairs officer. Forster added the facility could provide shelter in times of crisis and stage first responders, and is a “community-based type of facility.”

Brett Bautz, construction manager for the new facility, said the function of the Laramie Readiness Center is the secured readiness of the units assigned there.

“They constantly train and they have admin functions and they have training missions so they can meet any deployment missions by the president or the governor,” Bautz said.

The new building was constructed because the old armory was no longer large enough to house the units, Forster said. A field maintenance shop was built near the airport a few years ago. That shop maintains equipment for the 133{sup}rd{/sup} Engineer Company and other units. The Laramie Readiness Center was constructed in front of that shop.

The site is 49 acres and a “great location in the city of Laramie where we could get a big piece of land,” Bautz said. “This turned out as the best real estate option for the army guard.”

The main difference between the buildings is the size.

“That original building from 1959 was a different unit, it was a different army then and we had to double the size of the building space they needed for them to be able to function and train appropriately,” Bautz said.

Bautz was accountable for state and federal money that was spent there. The project cost was $26.9 million. Wyoming paid $5.9 million, while the federal government paid the rest.

“We stayed in budget, we got done on time,” Bautz said. The project took two years.

The new readiness center will host the training activities for three different units. The first unit is the 133{sup}rd{/sup} Engineer Company, the horizontal engineers for the army. Second is the 197{sup}th{/sup} Public Affairs Attachment, the broadcast and print journalists. Third, the 94{sup}th{/sup} Troop Command Headquarters, which oversees units throughout the state, will be there.

The old Laramie Armory property will be transferred to the University of Wyoming.

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