National Guard maintenance shop nears completion

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
March 25, 2001
DECATUR Construction of a maintenance shop for the Mississippi National Guard is scheduled to be complete here this fall.
The new building will be in the Decatur Industrial Park on Highway 15, adjacent to the existing Army National Guard facility.
Johnston said employees there service the entire 1st-204 Air Defense Artillery Battalion, supporting units in Newton, Bay Springs, Forest, Morton and Decatur. They are responsible for overall maintenance to all the equipment, such as trucks, trailers and generators.
The federally-funded building will be larger and more modern than the current facility, Johnston said. It will also house office space, tool rooms, an electronic room and storage space, he said.
The Decatur unit will use the old building as a maintenance. Johnston said each unit does "driver-level" maintenance such as oil and tire changes and other preventive maintenance, checks and services on their vehicles on weekend drill.
He said a contractor with Chris Albritton Construction Company of Laurel told him last week the building is expected to be complete in four to five months. He said the shell and roof are up and contractors are working on the building's interior. Parking lot paving may be next.
Decatur Mayor David Griffin said the Guard purchased the first lot in the 85-acre industrial park, which is about two years old. Newton aldermen and Newton County supervisors are working on an interlocal agreement to build a new county jail there.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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