Tyrone National Guard Armory to close by 2007

Rumors have been flying over recent months concerning the future of the Tyrone Armory which is the home of Detatchment 1 Company B 2-112th Infantry. The rumors had the armory in Tyrone closing. The rumors are coming true and the National Guard soldiers that train at the Tyrone Armory will be relocated in the next three to five years.
“The current sites and facilities at both Bellefonte and Tyrone are much too small to provide our soldiers the necessary space for training, equipment storage and maintenance they need to support their new mission,” said Duke Munford, the facilities and engineering director of the State Armory Board. “The army has budgeted approximately $8 million to build new facilities for these unites somewhere in Centre or Cambria County.”
The new facilities would consist of approximately 46,000 square feet for training.
“We are currently examining options to obtain the existing Air National Guard facilities at the State College Airport that were built less than five years ago. These Air National Guard facilities have required training, equipment storage, and maintenance areas to meet the soldiers’ needs,” he said. “The current State Armory Board plan is to build a new facility for the Air National Guard adjacent to its current buildings and turn over the current facility to the Army National Guard. This creates one National Guard training site at the State College Airport and will save the taxpayers approximately $3 million.”
The need for the move of the Tyrone Armory is a matter of space and cost.
“Of the 95 armories in the commonwealth, 70 percent are over 50 years old,” said Munford. “There has been little money available to maintain these buildings. With the mission changing significantly, there needs to be more space for training to have the newly formed Stryker brigades available to deploy on short notice.”
The current timeframe is between 3-5 years for the armory in Tyrone to close and the unit to move to State College.
“The funding for the construction project is earmarked for fiscal year 2006,” said Munford. “That is two years away and we are looking at a timeframe of 12-18 months for construction of the new Air National Guard facility. We are hoping to have things ready for the move in about three and a half years.”
When the National Guard soldiers move to State College, what will happen to the Tyrone Armory?
“There are laws we have to follow,” said Munford. “In the past, the state could basically give away facilities that turned into excess property. Now the law says that we must get fair market value. We have worked with other communities and legislators to see what we can do to maintain the historical landmark features that many of the armories have. For example, in Media, the community took over the facility and one-third of the Armory is a National Guard Museum and the rest of the space is for shops and businesses. We are also working with the Blairsville Historical Society on the Armory there.”
When the commonwealth sells these excess properties, it helps maintain the current facilities in the National Guard.
“Right now we have a $32 million backlog of maintenance and repairs that are needed at National Guard facilities across the state,” said Munford. “The money that the state sells these properties for goes into the Armory treasury. That money would go to maintenance and repair and is matched by the federal government. We would love to stay in these historic facilities, but we have outgrown the areas. It is cost prohibitive and doesn’t support the training needed for the missions of the National Guard.”
The move of the Tyrone National Guard unit is projected to take place in 2007.