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Commissioners consider fate of armory
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Soldiers pose for a photo-op outside McMinnville’s current National Guard Armory, which was built in 1957. Construction is projected to begin this fall on a new armory that will be 35,000 square feet, three times the size of the current facility.

Warren County commissioners will be taking a tour of the National Guard Armory this week.

“There has been a lot of talk in regard to what we would do with the property once the new armory is built,” said Commissioner Steven Helton. “Many commissioners, including myself, have never seen inside this building.”

The tour is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 9, and will be part of a committee meeting planned to begin at 5:30 p.m. The armory is located in front of Warren County Sheriff’s Department on Sparta Street. Once a new armory is built, the property will be deeded back to Warren County government. 

Construction on a new 35,000-square-foot armory is expected to start in late 2020. That facility will be located on Highway 55 on 23.3 acres adjacent to Brown Lee Ford.

“While I realize the new armory is still a year or two out, I felt it would be good for us to start thinking about what we planned to do with the structure and property,” said Helton. “Some ideas have included a workhouse for the jail, justice center, maintenance shed for the county, storage, and etc.”

The tour will take place during a county Corrections Partnership Committee meeting that same evening. Also included during the meeting, said Helton, will be an update on the progress of the new armory.

Funding for armories have typically been 75 percent federal and 25 percent state, while the local government provides the property. Land for the armory was purchased in June 2011 on Highway 55 adjacent to the Ford dealership. The county bought the land then deeded it to the state in September 2011.

Soldiers will have more than three times the space when the new armory is complete. The current armory, built in 1957, is 11,200 square feet. The new armory is projected to be 35,000 square feet.