A 37,000-square-foot Army training facility opened its doors to the public for the first time Saturday morning in “true American fashion,” spectators said.
More than 130 friends, family and community members gathered alongside 75 American flags waving proudly for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new U.S. Army Reserve center at 3250 Jim Christal Road.
The $12 million facility, officials said, was constructed by GCC McCarthy Joint Venture II, working for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Fort Worth District.
The complex broke ground about a year ago and will house the 957th Quartermaster Company. The company, which was established in 2011, will be able to train about 250 soldiers at the new Denton complex for petroleum operation missions.
Army reserves will train at the facility before they deploy and after they return home to transfer back to civilian life, said Sgt. Alexi Velasquez, who was deployed three times to Iraq and once to Afghanistan during his 12 years of active duty.
Velasquez described the new facility as a blessing.
“We had been sharing with other companies in an old building in Grand Prairie, so to have this new site as our own to call home is incredible,” he said.
Along with the main building, an 8,000-square-foot organizational maintenance shop and a 2,000-square-foot storage building are also on the premises. Officials said there are two military vehicle wash platforms and one high/low loading ramp.
“Everything here is really state-of-the-art, right down to vented areas in our maintenance shop,” Velasquez said while conducting a tour of the new buildings.
Spc. William Hill, who has served for seven years, will be working mechanics, and his group will be spending a lot of weekend time inside the maintenance shop.
“It’s very nice,” Hill said. “What’s really neat is how energy-efficient the place is.”
Velasquez said the building’s energy-efficient design includes motion sensors in the rooms throughout the two-story main center.
“The heat and air conditioner are controlled with sensors, so if no one is utilizing part of the building, then the sensors will notice and shut off,” he said.
The complex also has a system that captures rainwater, then uses it for flushing toilets and washing military vehicles, as well as a system of solar panels to heat water for the men’s and women’s showers.
During the opening ceremonies, officials said the building is currently under review for silver level certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which certifies structures based on sustainable building practices.
“The building itself is efficient, and we now [thanks to the move] are our own efficient company,” Velasquez said.
First Sgt. Carol Dosia said officials were just given the keys to the building on Thursday.
“We have really been looking forward to this building — it’s not just about us and who we are, but about the community and how much we will be able to be involved if someone needs us,” Dosia said.
Dosia said she expects the building to be fully staffed and operational within the next two weeks.
“We have to get our phones connected and things like that, but no more than two, maybe four weeks, and all eight staff members will be here Monday through Friday,” Dosia said.
Many have looked forward to being located within the Denton community, where the company has partnerships to help serve veterans.
“With so many coming back home, they need assistance, and our partners within the community will be able to help provide that transition back to civilian life they need,” Dosia said. “And we will be able to assist those community partners, if they need anything as well.”
Assistance and transition were two of the key elements common among the more than 20 vendors who showed up Saturday.
Leon and Irene Tribble, along with Vee Villanueva, were representing the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
“We contact and help with any employment issues that might arise during the return back to the regular workforce,” Leon Tribble said.
The Tribbles, longtime Denton area residents, were not only happy to be part of the opening; they were amazed at how much the men and women walking the halls have done already.
“All these men and women you see in uniform today are the true heart of our country,” said Leon Tribble, a 22-year veteran with the Army National Guard and the Air Force Reserve. “They are our heroes.”
A similar sentiment was overheard from Capt. Norma Cabanas before lunch was served.
“Today was not just an ordinary ribbon-cutting but the first celebration of our Army’s future,” she said.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.