Louisiana Airport to Be Site of New National Guard Center

Louisiana Air National Guard airmen work to respond to Hurricane Laura on Aug. 29, 2020.
Airmen from the 236th Combat Communications Squadron, Louisiana Air National Guard, based in Hammond, Louisiana, work inside their Joint Incident Site Communications Capabilities (JISCC) trailer in Lake Charles, La., Aug. 29, 2020. (Daniel Farrell/U.S. Air National Guard)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Construction is scheduled to begin next fall on a 60,000-square-foot National Guard readiness center at an airport in Lake Charles.

The Lake Charles Readiness Center will house multiple Louisiana National Guard units whose armory was damaged during Hurricane Laura, officials said Tuesday. It's expected to provide space for training, administrative duties and material storage for the assigned units.

The plans for the new readiness center at Chennault International Airport began before Laura barreled through Southwest Louisiana, KPLC-TV reported. Lt. Col. Scott Slaven, the construction facilities management officer for the Louisiana Army National Guard, said design work is now 60% complete for the estimated $24 million project.

“This has truly been a collaborative effort, and I look forward to the day when we can turn over a first-class facility to our soldiers,” Slaven said.

Officials said the readiness center will serve about 170 soldiers attached to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion of the 156th Infantry Regiment; Detachment 1, H Company of the 199th Support Battalion; and B Company of the LANG’s Recruiting and Retention Battalion.

“We’re proud to host — right here in our own backyard — the robust and important training of the warriors of the Louisiana National Guard. The addition of the new Guard facility supports Chennault’s vision of growth for the economic good for our region and state,” said the airport's executive director, Kevin Melton.

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter welcomed the announcement.

“This is a monumental announcement coming on the heels of a truly difficult year,” Hunter said. “The Louisiana National Guard’s commitment to build a multi-million-dollar Readiness Center at Chennault is a true testament to the value the airport brings to our regional economy. Now, more than ever, a diversified economy is critical to the rebuilding of our community.”

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