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National Guard breaks ground on $28M readiness center on Camp Murray


Golden shovels were used to break ground on the new Pierce County Readiness Center at Camp Murray.

National Guard breaks ground on
$28M readiness center on Camp Murray

Congressman Denny Heck joined the leadership of the Washington National Guard to break ground on a new $28 million facility at Camp Murray on Feb. 18.

The new 81,000 square-foot facility, called the Pierce County Readiness Center, will provide guardsmen from multiple units a new facility to perform their full-time and traditional duties, including critical training to help prepare for state and national disasters.


What the new readiness center is expected to look like.

“This is truly a great day for the Washington National Guard and the soldiers of the 96th Troop Command,” said Major General Bret D. Daugherty, The Adjutant General in charge of the Washington National Guard. “The 96th Troop Command had to move out of our historic Tacoma Armory due to safety concerns. We were forced out of that old building because it was falling apart.”

Construction of the new facility will start right away and create more than 300 local jobs. The building is scheduled to be done by July 2016. The contract was awarded to Absher and Tetra Tech after evaluating a number of competitive bids.


Congressman Denny Heck speaks with Col. Greg Allen and an official
from Absher Construction.

Congressman Heck, who represents the 10th Congressional District stretching from Olympia to Puyallup, said that he had more than 2,500 soldiers and airmen in his district.

“Really, it’s in recognition of their needs, their sacrifice and their service that we are able to get to this day and we should never, ever lose sight of that,” Heck told the crowd. “The fact of the matter is they answer the call. They answer the call every time whether it’s to be deployed overseas or to be deployed within this state to respond to an emergency like Oso or like wildfires. Trust me, I was just informed our snowpack in the Cascades is 20 percent the average so we all know what that means in the coming summer months. They’ll get the call again and just like they always have, they’ll respond again. It is because of them we stand here today.”


Congressman Denny Heck speaks with CSM Abby West.

Daugherty paid special tribute to the 96th Troop Command, including its leadership Col. Greg Allen and CSM Abby West, who were both at the event.

“The 96th was making the best out of a difficult situation in the old Air Guard facility at Boeing Field and they continue to meet every mission given to them to include responding to the landslide at Oso last year and the wildfires last summer and continues to deploy units overseas even to this day,” Daugherty said. “The truth is they deserve a better home and I’m excited to break ground today to give them a better home. This groundbreaking facility today will start construction of this new readiness center for the great soldiers of the 96th Troop Command. For the next 50 years or so, maybe 100 years – who knows? – Troop Command soldiers will train here. They’ll respond to domestic emergencies from here. They’ll deploy overseas and protect our country from here.”

The new building will be built to meet LEED Silver environmental rating standards and include special purpose and administration areas, an assembly hall, locker rooms and shower areas, as well as support functions associated with the facility.

Col. Allen said he was grateful to have the new facility.

“Places like this will really help us in terms of retention,” Allen said. “When you look at places like Bremerton, Yakima and the aviation center next to Fort Lewis, when a brand new soldier sees a brand new facility, it will inspire that soldier to think that the Guard really cares about their people.”

The citizen-soldiers and airmen of the Washington National Guard are dedicated to the mission of safeguarding lives and property in Washington State, and serving as sentinels for freedom overseas.


The crowd gathers for the groundbreaking ceremony.