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Commissioners discuss future of current armory
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Warren County Commissioners toured the National Guard Armory on Thursday and discussed its possible fate. Pictured, from left, are Sgt. First Class Kimberly Voiles, Staff Sgt. John Sweeney and Commissioners Steven Helton, Carl E. Bouldin, Ron Lee and Tyrone Sparkman. Also in attendance during the meeting were Commissioners Christy Ross, Steve Glenn, Blaine Wilcher and Joseph Stotts. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

The future of the National Guard Armory was discussed on Thursday, followed by a tour of the facility. 

Once a new armory is built on Manchester Highway, the property will be deeded to Warren County government. The county’s Corrections Partnership Committee held a meeting there to discuss possible uses and take a tour of the facility.

Commissioner Steven Helton explained the meeting would be a discussion only and would not include any recommendation on how the county should use the facility. 

“There been a lot of talk about this particular structure,” said Commissioner Helton. “What I wanted to do was get our eyes on the structure. At this point, we might throw out some ideas on what we could potentially do with it but ultimately, we are not making any decision tonight on the future of this building. This is informative, looking around, so that when we do start talking about what we are going to do with it, then we have an idea of what we are dealing with here.” 

Suggested uses: justice center, a juvenile center, storage for county government, storage for Warren County Sheriff’s Department, additional bed space for the jail or establishing a work release facility. 

Upland Design Group architect Kim Allen Chamberlin estimated that a 50,000-square-foot justice center at $300 a square foot would be $15 million. 

Also in attendance was veteran Harold Lough, a member of the American Legion Post 173. He requested the county consider allowing the facility to be used by all veterans’ organizations as a Warren County Veteran Community Partnership Center.

“We need a place for all veterans’ service organizations to come to,” said Lough. “I’ve been talking with all the presidents and commanders on this. If we had everybody in one place, imagine what we could do for Warren County veterans and for the community. Serving the community is something we really want to do, but we need a location in which to do it. I would like to see if a portion, if not the whole building, could be used for veterans.”

Helton stated, “We appreciate you giving us that information. Obviously, that’s very important. Like I said earlier, we aren’t here to determine what to do with this building. We will put that on the list of potential ideas for this structure. We greatly appreciate you coming out and voicing that.” 

Sgt. First Class Kimberly Voiles, who is resident NCO, and Staff Sgt. John Sweeney provided the group a tour of the National Guard Armory.