MANSFIELD -- U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, took a sneak peak Wednesday at multimillion-dollar additions to the Mansfield Air National Guard Base.
Brown and Ohio National Guard officials toured the new Armed Forces Reserve Center and Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Squadron Engineers (Red Horse) facilities.
Construction began in spring 2010. Brown said the additions -- which include offices, computer labs, repair garages and training spaces -- will be an asset to the base.
"This base is important not only for national security, but it has been a significant job creator and engine of economic growth here in my hometown of Mansfield," he said.
Brown helped secure funding for the construction of the new $6.8 million Red Horse facility, which supports the administration, operations, logistics and training of a 202-member self-sustaining heavy construction unit. The Armed Forces Reserve Center is a new $16 million facility used for administrative, storage and training purposes. It also houses the 3rd Platoon of the Army Reserve 486th Engineers.
The base plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. Work is still under way to move equipment and supplies into the buildings.
Col. Michael Howard, vice commander of the 179th Airlift Wing, said the facilities will free up space elsewhere on the base.
"A lot of this stuff was over on our side of the base, and space was tight," Howard said. "We have a lot more space out there now."
Brown said the base, which was considered for closure in 2005, is here to stay.
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