Iowa National Guard Readiness Center opens in Iowa City - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa National Guard Readiness Center opens in Iowa City

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Iowa City's old National Guard Armory was flooded back in 2008.

Two years later, they're moving into a new Readiness Center, built to house five Iowa National Guard units. The new Iowa City Readiness Center is a place for soldiers to organize, and train.

"During the civil war, we didn't have the luxury of having a place to meet, and generally met out in a field or something, and in some cases, somebody's barn," said retired Major General Robert Sentman, who was at Monday's opening ceremony. He says facilities like this keep with Iowa's tradition of providing the necessary resources for troops to prepare themselves.

"We have ever since this great state started in 1846," Sentman explained. "Many, many hours are spent inside this building, just preparing to go."

Iowa soldiers will soon take part in the largest military deployment since World War II. Lieutenant Colonel Tim Rickert, the officer in charge, says this place will give troops a stronger sense of community and camaraderie, and provide resources to their families during the mission.

"I think it really brings unity of effort with the soldiers," said Rickert. "It really puts the wind in their sails."

The $17.5 million post has a state-of-the-art fitness room, classrooms with multimedia capabilities, and it's networked with other armories throughout the state. It also has enough room for the equipment that was scattered to other locations, after the 2008 flood.

"We're able to consolidate it now all under one roof."

The new Readiness Center is more than double the size of the old armory, which was built in 1937. But the National Guard is hoping to keep part of its history alive by taking pieces of this old building, and putting it into the new facility. Two pieces of interest are seals built into the outer walls.

"One is a cavalry sword, and then the other one is a medical crest," Rickert told us. "We want to save that heritage and bring that heritage along with us."

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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