New Ulm — The new Minnesota National Guard Field Maintenance Workshop (FMS) held a special ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday in New Ulm.
The facility covers 31,000 square feet of which 25,000 square feet are used for 10 service areas, wash areas and storage areas. An additional 6,400 square feet is used for classrooms and office space. The maintenance facility is intended to replace the former FMS at the southern end of New Ulm.
“The new maintenance facility in New Ulm marks a renewed commitment by the Minnesota National Guard and the City of New Ulm,” Lieutenant Colonel. Mark Gill, commander of the 1-125th Field Artillery Regiment. “This facility brings new capabilities and doubles the size of our existing facility, adding jobs for members of the Guard from the city and the region. From tracked to wheeled vehicles, Neu Ulm The Army Field Repair Shop will be responsible for supporting troops from southwest Minnesota west of Highway 169 to South Dakota.”
Following the ribbon-cutting, members of the Willkommen Committee of the Neue Ulm Regional Chamber of Commerce were able to tour the new plant with representatives of Donlar Construction. Project architect Andrew Coopers said the main purpose of the new FMS was to maintain vehicles, but it was built with people in mind. He said the overall design was relatively simple. The building is divided into office spaces and maintenance spaces.
FMS is the state’s most advanced repair shop. A heating system on the floor will keep the mechanic warm during winter when repairs are made. Rainwater harvesting systems can recycle water for cleaning vehicles. Solar panels on the roof provide enough power to the facility on sunny days. Backup generators can power the facility in the event of a power outage.
The completion of the FMS is the first phase of the renewal of the National Guard in New Ulm. The second phase will be the establishment of a new National Guard readiness center near the FMS, which will bring new capabilities to Battalion New Ulm. The new readiness center will replace the century-old fortress-style New Ulm Armory on North Broadway. The new readiness center is scheduled to be completed in 2025.
The creation of a new FMS and readiness center will allow more members of the National Guard to work in New Ulm. The FMS can support 31 National Guard positions at full capacity.
Currently, 100 soldiers conduct exercises every month at the Neu Ulm Armory. With the completion of the new readiness center in 2025, that number could triple as other Minnesota National Guard units move to New Ulm.