Oklahoma National Guard Constructing New Facility in Northeast Oklahoma

The Oklahoma National Guard is in the process of constructing a new facility at Camp Gruber in northeast Oklahoma intended to house and train soldiers.

It's been about 20 years since Camp Gruber has seen a new housing facility.

The new construction will house 650 beds, dining areas, classrooms and parking lots for cars and military vehicles. This project is something the Oklahoma National Guard has been working on for a while.

"It took us 10 years of planning and to secure the funding," Col. Curtis Arnold, Camp Gruber commander said.

The funding comes from the Army's budget so it comes down to a congressional vote. Arnold said this project is $26.1 million dollars and will be 128,000 square-feet and it will change the way area soldiers train.

"It's less drive time to other training installations, less of a distracters for our commanders, logistically more affordable, and it should equal a better training environment and a higher level of readiness. Our soldiers will spend more time training and less time trying to get there," Arnold said.

There is already construction happening at the training facility for other things, which will keep the soldiers from traveling to Arkansas or Mississippi for the training they need.

The facility houses 2,500 people now and the goal is to get 4,700 beds because the largest formation for the national guard is more than 3,500.

"We need to have the capability here to bring that formation and the headquarters and the support elements to train at one time for continuity of command and training," Arnold said.

The construction for the new facility will start in February of this year and be complete in January of 2016.