Friday, November 5, 2010

Armory getting anti-terrorism upgrades

Dumpster placed far from building to minimize bomb threat


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

This fortified Dumpster shelter was built as part of an ongoing remodel of the Hailey Armory. Photo by David N. Seelig

The Idaho National Guard is in the process of making changes to the Hailey Armory intended to make the facility less vulnerable to terrorist attack. The changes to the Cedar Street site include installation of "blast-proof" windows and new parking configurations.

The armory, now officially called a "readiness center" by military personnel, is being renovated according to U.S. Department of Defense criteria developed 10 years ago under the Anti-Terrorism Force Protection Program.

"Anti-Terrorism Force Protection has been a major emphasis since the 9/11 attacks in 2001," Idaho National Guard Maj. Doug Werner said.

Idaho National Guard spokesman Col. Tim Marsano said there have been threats to National Guard facilities in the United States, but he declined to elaborate.

"It's all about doing whatever we can to make the building a 'hard target,' or a less appealing target," Marsano said. "These buildings are not only used to train soldiers. They are also used as community centers."

Twenty-one of 27 National Guard readiness centers in Idaho have been renovated in the past 10 years. Werner said Hailey's should be completed by Jan. 7.

The projected cost for the Hailey Armory's renovation is $1.26 million. Seventy-six percent of the funding comes from federal sources and 24 percent from the state.

On Monday, the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission gave design-review approval to the armory's already built, brick-enclosed trash container at Third Avenue and Cedar Street.

Original plans called for a trash container on Fourth Avenue, but Werner told the P&Z Monday that the location was moved to Third Avenue for "safety reasons" because it had to be at least 82 feet from the armory.

"It needs to be this far away in case a bomb of a particular size is put in the trash," Werner said.

The P&Z required that Werner install solid doors on the trash container in place of wrought-iron doors that were installed recently.

"That might help keep whatever you don't want out of there in the first place," Commission Chair Owen Scanlon said.

Tony Evans Tevans@mtexpress.com




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