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NEWS | Aug. 5, 2014

Delaware National Guard opens $48 million headquarters building

By Lt. Col. Len Gratteri Delaware National Guard

NEW CASTLE, Del. - The Delaware National Guard officially opened its new Armed Forces Reserve Center on Aug. 1 as 500 people gathered for remarks and the ceremonial ribbon-cutting for the $48 million building.  The new facility will house the headquarters elements of the Delaware National Guard and the local U.S. Navy Reserve.

Special guests included Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Gen. Frank Grass, chief of the National Guard Bureau.

The facility is a 15-year-long dream of Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, adjutant general of the Delaware National Guard.  “This building reflects the professionalism of our Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors and will allow us to continue to be always ready, reliable and indispensible in supporting the great state of Delaware and the United States of America,” he said.

Grass echoed that sentiment and said, “It’s a tremendous salute to the men and women of the Delaware National Guard and Navy Reserve that we can give them a top-rate facility when we ask them to lay their lives on the line, whether it’s here at home in a disaster, or some far away land when the president calls.”

Every facet of the design was carefully reviewed and refined.  Even its décor ties in Delaware’s militia roots from 1655 with a modern facility.  The exterior is comprised of field stone obtained from a local quarry.  The earth-colored stones were chipped and shaped by hand on site – just as it would have been done in the 1600s.  This detail serves to soften the appearance of what would otherwise be a symmetrical, institutional building and bridge the Guard’s past with its future. 

The 106,000 square-foot building is also eco-friendly and eligible for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification.  It contains foamed, in-place wall insulation, 168 geothermal wells that provide heating and cooling, a roof-mounted photovoltaic array to produce about 10% of the building’s power requirements, and room occupation and hallway light sensors.

Additionally, three 15,000-gallon underground harvesting tanks receive rainwater from the roof and are used for site irrigation and re-circulated via a sprinkler system in front of the building.

A whole-building automation system controls all systems within the facility and with real-time data can provide the status of each system, showing alarms and building energy use.  Virtually all switches, valves, buttons and controls can be adjusted from a laptop computer. 

The facility will be home to approximately 400 Soldiers, Airmen and Sailors.