HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – A sea of Army green and Air Force blue, with a sprinkling of civilian business professional, filled the assembly hall, here, Dec. 13, 2012, to hold, fittingly, a joint celebration.
It was the National Guard's birthday as well as the official opening of the Massachusetts National Guard's new Joint Force Headquarters.
On Dec 13, 1636, the General Court of the Colony on the Massachusetts Bay, the colony's version of today's state legislature, signed a legislative act that read "It is ordered that all military men in this jurisdiction shall be ranked into three regiments...". This act created what would eventually become today's National Guard and the U.S. Army.
"It is very historic that we are opening this facility on the 13th of December, 376 years after the birth of the National Guard and within 10 miles of the location of the First Muster in Salem," said Gen. Frank Grass, chief, National Guard Bureau, "I'm honored to be part of this momentous occasion for the Massachusetts National Guard."
The Guard is moving from its current location in Milford, where it outgrew the facility, to Hanscom AFB and a new state of the art energy efficient and environmentally friendly four story building.
"As we celebrate this modern structure, "said Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, The Adjutant General, Massachusetts National Guard, "We remember the thousands of American Service men and women who remain on active duty in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. These warriors, their families, their communities, their civilian leadership, like the militia of the past know the difficulty of their journey of military service. In the halls of this great complex, we will honor these brave men and women ... of their selfless service."
While the physical construction of the facility aided the local economy by creating construction jobs, all of the building materials for the approximately 200,000 sq. ft. building were purchased within a 500 mile radius of the site and 95 percent of the construction waste was recycled. The energy efficient features in the building range from motion sensors that will automatically turn off the lights in empty rooms to low consumption water fixtures. The Guard will also benefit from the existing physical and electronic security that already exists on the base.
This state-of-the-art facility is the home to more than 300 Massachusetts National Guard Joint Force Headquarters Soldiers, Airmen and Civilian employees. The new headquarters will “lead by example” by maximizing green technologies, ergonomic design, and internal and external communications technologies to sustain the highest organizational effectiveness and efficiency. The facility will benefit service members and civilian employees alike by offering the security of a military installation, existing military infrastructure, secure communication and a location that allows the National Guard to effectively fulfill its state mission to respond to natural disasters or other civil emergencies while also providing support for the federal military mission.
For these and other initiatives the Guard is anticipating receiving a "Gold" rating in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The new facility is being built in two phases; phase one, which is now open, had a projected cost of $23,786,712. Phase two is expected to be opened in the summer/fall of 2013 with a projected cost of $19,701,467.