Forward, march on armory renovations 1

A Jamaica landmark since the first Franklin Roosevelt administration, the National Guard Armory on 168th Street is slated for three-year, $1231 million modernization

The planned renovation and modernization of the Jamaica Armory at 168th Street and 93rd Avenue took a giant step forward late in March with the hiring of a construction manager for the $121 million project.

LiRo Program and Construction Management, PE PC, which is part of the LiRo Group headquartered in Syosset, has been awarded a $9 million contract by the New York State Office of General Services to oversee the work on the 84-year-old building.

“Our citizen soldiers require a 21st Century facility where they can train for both their state and federal missions using the latest technology,” Major Gen. Ray Shields, adjutant general for the State of New York and commander of the New York Army National Guard, said in an email. “The historic Jamaica Armory has been a key facility for the New York National Guard when assisting state and local officials in New York City and this project will ensure it remains a viable military facility in the years to come.”

In 2012, hundreds of troops used the armory as headquarters in the weeks following Hurricane Sandy,

Work will begin in October 2020. The Office of General Services is working with the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs on the design and construction of the project. Completion is slated for March 2023.

The key parts of the project call for constructing a new 41,000-square-foot readiness center within the existing structure and to alter another 140,787-square-foot section of the armory to better support Army National Guard training, administrative and logistics requirements.

The renovations will include establishing modern information technology systems, rebuilding offices and storage facilities, and installing state-of-the-art heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

New men’s and women’s locker rooms will be built, ensuring adequate space for female soldiers. New storage space will be constructed.

Officials with the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs told the Chronicle in a telephone interview that the “expansion” will take place within the building’s existing footprint by adding floor space in an area that right now has 60 feet between the first floor and the ceiling.

The Jamaica Armory houses 425 soldiers assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery of the 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery, Company F of the 427th Brigade Support Battalion and the 442nd Military Police Company. Those units will temporarily relocate to other New York Army National Guard facilities in New York City and Long Island in the fall of 2020, and officials said other units likely would be assigned there upon completion.

Congress in December appropriated $91 million to renovate the armory in the National Defense Authorization Act. New York State will provide $30 million.

The state Office of General Services expects to seek bids on the project on July 15, and to award it in August.