The Duncan Banner

April 19, 2013

Duncan to gain use of former armory

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — For nearly two years, the City of Duncan has had big plans for the former Duncan National Guard Armory. Today, the armory will be ready for use.

At 1:30 p.m. today, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will host a special ceremony at 3000 S. 13th St. to officially hand over the building for use by the city.

This is part of an ongoing project through the Oklahoma Military Department, which has closed 50 armories across the state. The closures are part of the Base Realignment and Closure project, which is closing excess military institutions and realigning military personnel as a result.

In August 2011, the City of Duncan was allowed to acquire the former Duncan Armory, which was constructed in 1975. Since then, DEQ has been working to ensure the building is safe for use by rectifying environmental issues including contamination caused by an indoor shooting range, lead-based paint and asbestos.

When the city first acquired the building, City Manager Jim Frieda has several plans for the building to best benefit the City of Duncan and its day-to-day operations.

“We may move some city offices in,” Frieda said. “It’s a secondary area when we have a weather event like we had with the ice storms. It’s another area for our Comm Center in case anything happens.

“I think we can utilize the space well.”

The city has made several moves to prepare for the acquisition of the building, including the purchase of an emergency generator. Following the loss of power during the January 2010 ice storm, the city has been looking for ways to better serve Duncan residents in case an emergency situation like that arises again.

During that storm, much of the county was let without electricity for an extended period of time. The Stephens County Fair & Expo Center was set up as an emergency shelter, which was later taken over by the American Red Cross.

The City of Duncan has discussed setting a space that can be used for a shelter if the need returns.

With the closure of the 50 armories, the Oklahoma Military Department has been constructing AFR centers, which will be more than 200,000 square feet and will feature state-of-the-art equipment and training devices. This closing of the armories and the opening of the new facilities is being paid through federal funds. The AFR centers will still be state-run buildings that function on federal funds.