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Superior armory slated for upgrades

MADISON -- Aging heating and cooling equipment at Superior's National Guard Armory will be replaced in a $2.9 million project approved Wednesday by the State Building Commission. Many of the Wisconsin National Guard's 71 armories across the state...

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The Superior National Guard Armory was approved for $2.9 million in improvements by the State Building Commission this week. Work is expected to get underway next year. (Jed Carlson / jcarlson@superiortelegram.com)

MADISON - Aging heating and cooling equipment at Superior's National Guard Armory will be replaced in a $2.9 million project approved Wednesday by the State Building Commission.

Many of the Wisconsin National Guard's 71 armories across the state were built in the 1940s and 1950s and have been undergoing repairs and equipment replacement, said Lt. Col. Dan Hanson, commander of the 724th Engineer Battalion, which includes the 950th Clearance Co., Superior.

In addition to replacing the heating and cooling equipment with more energy efficiency HVAC systems, the project remodels storage areas, security caging, constructs a new arms vault, break area, and men's and women's restrooms.

LED lighting will replace existing fixtures and the exterior of the building at 32 N. 21st St. will be re-clad with insulated metal panels, another project to lower the energy cost.

Equipment being replaced is more than 30 years old, is failing, inefficient to operate and costly to repair, according to the Department of Military Affairs. Steam heat piping and fittings have deteriorated, the manual control system is often out of operation and electrical panels are outdated.

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"Everything we have now gets plugged into a (computer) server or something," said Hanson about the increased demand for more power. More power usage makes energy efficiency all the more important, he said.

Funding is 75 percent federal dollars and 25 percent state, the formula applied to energy efficiency projects.

Construction bids will be opened in August; work is scheduled to begin in April 2018 and be completed in November 2018.

In addition to its Superior armory, the 950th has a detachment in Spooner. The estimated 150-person unit detects landmines and improvised explosive devices, and provides clear paths for other military units when deployed overseas, said Hanson.

The 950th was deployed to Afghanistan in late 2014, and returned to the U.S. in September 2015. The unit previously deployed to Iraq in 2003 on a construction operations mission and again in 2010 on a route clearance mission, according to the DMA.

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