Local News

N.C. National Guard headquarters $20M under budget

Posted August 25, 2010 11:34 a.m. EDT
Updated August 25, 2010 4:50 p.m. EDT

— Construction on the new headquarters for the North Carolina National Guard is ahead of schedule and about $20 million under budget, officials said Wednesday.

Initial cost estimates for the 237,000-square-foot building off District Drive in west Raleigh were $56 million, but Maj. Gen. William Ingram said the project will be completed at a cost of about $36 million.

The building is also about two months ahead of schedule, and Ingram said construction should be finished by April 2011, allowing the National Guard to move in by next summer.

"This particular project hit right at the low point of the economy. We were able to get construction bidding done right at the right time when construction companies were hungry for work," he said.

In addition to the National Guard, the building will house the state Division of Emergency Management and communications offices for the State Highway Patrol and the Department of Transportation.

The state received about $41.5 million in federal economic stimulus money for the project, and officials set aside $14.5 million from the state General Fund and Highway Trust Fund.

The state will wind up spending about $10 million on the project, and the rest of the savings will return to the federal government, officials said.

The headquarters building was on the drawing board to be completed in 2012, but the availability of the stimulus money for such as "shovel-ready" project accelerated the timetable.

Fourth District Congressman David Price, who toured the building Wednesday morning to check on the progress of construction, said the National Guard building represented the success of the stimulus effort. About 3,500 construction jobs were either saved or created because of the project, he said.

Officials had previously estimated the project would affect 4,200 jobs.

Ingram said the new headquarters would replace a 40-year-old facility that now houses some National Guard operations and the temporary trailers that are home to other offices.

Once the new headquarters opens, the National Guard will continue to use its current facility. Officials said the transition of the National Guard from a strategic reserve to an operational reserve requires more facilities to meet the increased demands.