After years of being stuffed into small rooms at 150 percent capacity with no air conditioning, Army Reserve units stationed in Mesa are finally getting some relief.
The new $11 million Silvestre S. Herrera U. S. Army Reserve Training Center was dedicated Saturday before a backdrop of national, state and military flags, finalizing a process that began in 1994.
The center will take the pressure off the old Reserve building nearby, which housed 400 to 500 staff and personnel each month.
The center at 6158 S. Avery St. is approximately 57,000 square feet and will house the 6253rd U. S. Army Hospital and several Reserve units.
"We suffered in this area for so long," Master Sgt. Dimitri Payne said. "I believe not only is the Army paying attention to us now, the civilian sector is too, with this turnout today."
About 450 soldiers, civilians and veterans attended the dedication ceremony in honor of Herrera, a Medal of Honor recipient, wearing everything from fatigues to old unit lapels to American flag pins.
"This building is a tribute to what we can do for the soldiers," said Maj. Gen. Robert Ostenberg, commanding officer of the 63rd Regional Readiness Command in charge of the new facility's units, noting that 100 percent of the units stationed in the new building "are or have been deployed somewhere in the global war on terror."
The building has state-of-the-art Internet and communications wiring, a long-distance learning center to help educate soldiers, new maintenance facilities for vehicles and equipment, an indoor training room and a kitchen.
"From my perspective it's about time," said Col. Jon Miller, who oversees the units stationed at the center. "The soldiers deserve so much, and frankly this building is the Army finally rising to the level of its occupants."