The Delaware Army National Guard broke ground Monday on a new maintenance facility to be built at the Guard’s River Road training site in New Castle.
The new Combined Surface Maintenance Shop will expand the site’s capacity, with elements including a wood shop, a canvas shop and work bays to accommodate larger vehicles.
The 61,429-square foot facility will replace two smaller buildings currently in use, one of which Delaware Army National Guard Construction and Facilities Management Officer Fred Cost notes was built during the Korean War.
“Consider the generations of ground vehicles since then,” he said at Monday’s event. “We’re talking about the Jeep back in 1952. We had the Deuce and a Half. Between then and now, we had the ... Chevy Blazers and pickup trucks. Then we got to the Hum V, and now we’re looking at FMTVs— the medium tactical vehicles. We’re looking at bigger trucks as we go along this game.”
Cost says the new facility will also feature small arms test and repair, fuel and ignition test and repair, calibration, a machine shop, a welding bay, a body shop, paint and paint stripping rooms and an engine transmission test cell with a dynamometer.
“What we need is a maintenance shop for the next fifty years,” said Cost. “Who knows what’s going to be rolling into our maintenance shops in the next fifty years, but we’ve gotta be ready for it.”
Adjutant General for the Delaware National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael Berry says having better technology and more space to maintain modern equipment is critical. “Maintenance is readiness, in a nutshell,” he said. “Without maintenance on your equipment, the Army can’t mobilize. So that’s why this is so valuable to us.”
The roughly $36 million facility is expected to be operational within two years.