Training center breaks ground

Military personnel and government officials broke ground Aug. 15 for a new Armed Forces Reserve Center to be built at Schenectady County Airport.

The 95,000-square-foot, two-story building will be used as a training center for the Navy, Marine Corps and Army National Guard. The $19 million facility, which will be located across the way from Stratton Air National Guard Base, will have a dozen classrooms and space for physical fitness, military training and storage. The site will include space for 420 vehicles, land-scaping, walkways and an extension of an existing roadway.

The facility will bring 400 military personnel at a time to the site and will house 40 full-time employees.

Commissioner for the county economic and planning department, Ray Gillen, thanked government officials including Glenville Supervisor Frank Quinn, chairwoman of the county Legislature Susan Savage, Sen. Hilary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and U.S. Rep. Michael McNulty, D-Green Island, who was the guest speaker.

Today marks the beginning of the construction cycle but the end of the long process, McNulty said.

Gillen said McNulty was a "tremendous help" in securing nearly $20 million for this year's military construction fund.

McNulty thanked members of the armed forces for the work they do. "You are the reason the first thing I do in the morning is thank God for my life and thank veterans for my way of life," he said.

James Tedisco spoke on behalf of local officials.

"This project is part of a long list of very positive things that are happening in Schenectady County," he said.

Lt. Col. Harold Vanopdorp said the Marines that will be trained at this facility play an important role in the war in Iraq now. They help to guard military checkpoints and various facilities.

Marine Corps Maj. Pete Merrill said about 180 Marines will be trained at this facility for foreign missions. The site will also provide ample storage space for weapons and equipment.

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