New Readiness Center showcases Guard history and future
Amidst the trees and historic buildings that dot Camp Murray now stands a new, state-of-the-art readiness center.
It took five years and a lot of help, but this week the Washington National Guard officially opened the new Pierce County Readiness Center (PCRC) on Camp Murray, once again giving the Tacoma area an armory for its citizen-soldiers. The facility replaces the century-old Tacoma Armory, which had to be vacated in December, 2011 due to safety concerns.
“When the Tacoma Armory needed to be closed, the 96th Troop Command units that were affected kept their heads up and continued on with their mission,” said Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the adjutant general. “Even with our love of history, we wouldn’t let that impede the needs of our organization and that is providing the best facilities moving into the future.”
Nearly 200 guests took part in the historic ribbon cutting on March 29, 2017, marking the official opening of the PCRC, which gives the units of the 96th Troop Command a new home.
“Facilities like this provide us the best resources to support our guardsmen,” said Col. Dan Dent, commander, 96th Troop Command. “This is a world class facility for our world class citizen-soldiers.”
After breaking ground in February 2015, Puyallup-based Absher Construction got right to work on the 80,060 square foot building.
“We are so happy we were able to serve our community and build this beautiful facility,” said Dan Absher, president, Absher Construction. “We have a long history here in Pierce County and this award winning facility is another example.”
In January the PCRC was named “Best in Class for the Heavy Commercial” category by ICF Builder Magazine and runner-up for “Building of the Year” by the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.
“The Pierce County Readiness Center was an outstanding example of the power of collaboration through the design-build process,” said Absher. “The entire team — including Department of Enterprise Services, the Washington Military Department, WJA Design Collaborative and the many sub-consultants and subcontractors involved — worked as a unified team to make this project succeed.”
The PCRC took 77 weeks to build and came in under budget at $30 million. It is equipped with multiple classrooms, a small gym, locker rooms, equipment storage areas, unit common areas with work stations for every soldier that is stationed in the building, computer lab, kitchen, multi-use drill floor, and a large maintenance bay and parking for tactical vehicles.
“We look at the PCRC as the mold for the rest of the Guard, not just here in Washington, but even at the national level,” said Lt. Col. Adam Iwaszuk, director, construction and facilities management, Washington National Guard. “We have been lucky to have three projects in the next four years, and will continue to fight for the best facilities for our Guard in the future.”