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Construction to begin on HIARNG maintenance facility

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Land is blessed Thursday during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new maintenance facility at Keaukaha Military Reservation in Hilo.

The Hawaii Army National Guard is replacing its decades-old vehicle and equipment maintenance shop in Hilo.

More than 50 people gathered Thursday at the Keaukaha Military Reservation to kick off construction of the new Combined Support Maintenance Shop No. 2, a $29.5 million project which is slated to be completed in December 2019.

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The shop is used for maintenance of every Hawaii Army National Guard vehicle based on Hawaii Island.

The current shop consists of six buildings and sheds built in 1954. It lacks sufficient maintenance areas and administrative and supply space. It also lacks adequate fitness space, toilets, locker rooms and military vehicle parking. Current facilities also are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Army’s Anti-Terrorism Force Protection criteria.

“We’ve been putting Band-Aids on this huge wound and asking our soldiers to maintain standards in substandard settings,” Col. Tyson Tahara, deputy chief of staff for logistics, told attendees at the groundbreaking ceremony. “It’s the right time to break ground on a new facility. Our Hawaii Island maintainers deserve this project.”

The new shop will be 36,400 square feet, a more than 25 percent increase over the current shop, Tahara said. It will include administrative and shop space, vehicle work bays, a vehicle loading ramp, enclosed vehicle storage buildings, outdoor military parking, controlled waste and flammable storage, a vehicle fueling facility, among other things. It also will be constructed to meet all codes and standards and Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design Silver level.

“When this shop is completed, it will allow soldiers to work in a facility that (is) safe and efficient and will facilitate the Hawaii Army Air National Guard’s ability to accomplish its federal missions and meet its readiness objectives and state mission to support civil authorities during natural disasters,” Tahara told attendees.

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“Readiness will improve for the units on Hawaii Island and they will once again take pride in their new workplace,” he said.

Email Kirsten Johnson at kjohnson@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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