The state of Illinois is contributing $8 million to build an Illinois Army National Guard facility on the campus of Heartland Community College in Normal. The $8 million will be in addition to $10 million in federal construction money. The project is expected to create 100 construction jobs.
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The new National Guard facility will lead to better educated students, as well as provide space for soldiers, says Maj. Brad Leighton. He says students studying law enforcement training will utilize the facility’s seven classrooms during the week. In exchange, National Guard soldiers will be able to utilize the college’s fitness center and auditorium.
The facility will house the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, which includes several units that handle domestic emergency missions. Leighton says the 404th MEB, currently based in Chicago, is moving to Normal, in part because of good access to multiple modes of transportation and ease of responding to different parts of the state.
When it is completed, 22 full-time and about 200 part-time soldiers will work at the new facility.