$5.9 million renovation project underway at Ishpeming National Guard Armory

It will include updates and additions to facilities for women service members.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 5:14 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2023 at 3:29 PM EST
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ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) - $5.9 million of state and federal money will be invested into the Ishpeming Armory.

Michigan’s Master Planner Delbert Avery said this comes from one of Governor Whitmer’s priorities. It is to modernize older armories, so women National Guard soldiers have more equitable facilities.

“Most of these designs of the facilities were from the 50′s 60′s and 70′s when the force was all male,” Avery said.

The project will include a lactation room and expanded shower and toilet facilities. Major Megan Breen is the officer in charge of the 107th Engineer Battalion. She said there are typically 5 to 7 women soldiers working at the armory during the week.

“During the drill weekend, which is once a month, there are even upwards of 25 to 30 with half of them staying here overnight,” Breen said.

Breen said the updates will be an improvement for the women who drill and train in the armory.

“They won’t have to wait as long to use the showers or toilets. Prior to the renovation, it was always adjusting your schedule or trying to get everyone through within a certain time window,” Breen said.

And the lactation rooms will benefit expectant and new mothers.

“It will have a special chair, a refrigerator and a private space so those soldiers can address the things that they need to do along with working with their peers,” Breen said.

Avery said there will also be an improvement in accessibility.

“We will include an elevator that will go from the first floor to the second floor which we typically don’t provide because most of our facilities are single story. But this is a unique situation where this was always an ongoing issue at the Ishpeming armory,” Avery said.

Renovations are estimated to be complete in January 2024.