Modernizing for Combat Readiness - Rhode Island Army National Guard
Rhode Island Army National Guard
Always ready, always there is more than just a motto for the US National Guard. This creed is embedded into every element of its mission. With more than 440,000 active soldiers, the oldest component of the US Armed Forces must be prepared for mobilization whenever and wherever disaster strikes. Preparing the nation’s guardsmen begins with their base of operations — ensuring it is properly equipped to meet the evolving challenges of today.
Established in 1638, the Rhode Island Army National Guard (RIARNG) has served the nation in every major American conflict. RIARNG has three foundational values: taking care of the state’s people, building military readiness, and fostering innovation.
RIARNG’s Joint Force Headquarters serves as a command post, training facility, operations center, logistics base and judicial services center. It also provides a place for public use in times of emergency. As the scope of readiness has expanded, the previous headquarters no longer supported RIARNG’s long-term goals because of diminished and inadequate space to extend training spaces and replace aging equipment to meet functional needs to move the mission forward.
When RIARNG recognized in 2016 the need for a modernized facility to effectively execute its mission, Pond was ready to serve. RIARNG leadership envisioned a functional, state-of-the-art Readiness Center that would be practical to meet their multi-faceted needs and help recruit and inspire new guardsmen.
Pond customized a project team of seasoned professionals, many with military backgrounds, who embraced the Guard’s values and understood their needs. With expertise providing integrated A-E design services according to MILCON project requirements, the team worked in trusted partnership with the diverse RIARNG stakeholders to effectively guide consensus on what a “modern facility” would entail. As issues arose during planning and design, such as unforeseen geologic conditions during construction and cost estimate ambiguity, the trust among the National Guard and the Pond team allowed seamless navigation through each challenge.
The finalized design incorporates metal panel siding, large windows, a prominent entrance, and a lobby feature wall. The wall’s brightly lit, glass-etched insignia of the RIARNG welcomes guardsmen and visitors as they enter the facility. The command headquarters also includes technology-enhanced classrooms and a large, open, multi-purpose training hall. The expansion included a spacious, 450-seat auditorium that will be used for training, ceremonies, and briefings and act as an Operations Information Center during inclement weather and other catastrophic events.
The consolidated headquarters exceeds expectations and embodies RIARNG’s vision for a modern facility to attract and serve the modern warfighter.
Pond has extensive experience with Readiness Centers having designed over 40 facilities in the last 10 years. These include MILCON projects and SRM renovations of existing facilities in eight states across the country. Along with our 405 plus National Guard projects in 47 states in the last 30 years, we understand the differing requirements and conditions encountered across the various regions of the United States, including designing for cold temperatures in the Northeast, high humid conditions in the Southeast, and arid condition in the West. Some regions combine all these elements. Our team of engineers and architects are experienced in all the regions and are dedicated to the National Guard program.
Bob Ruch, Col. Ret., PE is Pond’s Executive Vice President, Defense & Federal. He has been in the industry for 5 years since retirement from a distinguished 30-year career with the U.S. Army and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. While serving with USACE, he commanded...
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