Chennault will be site of new National Guard readiness center

Chennault International Airport Construction

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Construction is scheduled to begin in fall 2021 on a 60,000-plus square foot National Guard readiness center at Chennault International Airport.

The Lake Charles Readiness Center will be the future home of multiple Louisiana National Guard units who experienced damage to their armory during Hurricane Laura.

The plans for the new readiness center began before Hurricane Laura barreled through Southwest Louisiana.

Lt. Col. Scott Slaven, LANG’s Construction Facilities Management Officer, notes that progress continues on the planning and design of the new readiness center in Lake Charles despite challenges with COVID-19 and hurricanes.

“Through the efforts and dedication of our design partner, Holly and Smith Architects from Hammond, La., design is now 60 percent complete. 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.

Brig. Gen. Keith Waddell, the Adjutant General of LANG, supports the progress.

“We’re looking forward to beginning construction on the Lake Charles Readiness Center in 2021 and are pleased with the opportunity to continue working with the leadership at Chennault International Airport, the city of Lake Charles and other state and local stakeholders,” Waddell said. “Our priority remains serving the citizens of Louisiana.”

Here are some additional facts and figures about the facility:

• Size: 60,000 square feet.

• Cost: An estimated $24 million or more.

• Units served: 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.

• Soldiers: About 170.

“We welcome and look forward to the development of the 3-156 Infantry Battalion’s new home at Chennault International Airport,” said Kevin Melton, Executive Director of Chennault International Airport. “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.”

The mission and purpose of the Lake Charles Readiness Center will be to provide space for training, administration and material storage for the assigned National Guard units.

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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