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Defense bill includes $21 million for Army Reserve Center in Newark

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a bill that authorizes $21 million in funding for a new Army Reserve Center in Newark.

The $750 billion National Defense Authorization Act, which sets the military's annual budget, must now be approved by the U.S. House and be signed by the president.

"This final bill makes important investments to support the men and women serving in our armed forces, strengthen our military capabilities, bolster our nation’s cyber defenses, and counter the ever-evolving threats to our national security," Sen. Tom Carper said in a prepared statement. "I am especially proud to have worked alongside Sen. Coons to secure funding for the new Army Reserve Center in Newark so that our service men and women have the modern training facility that they deserve.”

First announced in March, the facility is slated to be built on vacant land next to an existing armed forces reserve center at 1001 Ogletown Road. The facility will include a 33,000 square-foot reserve center, an 11,000-square-foot vehicle maintenance shop and a 3,000-square-foot storage building. It will also have space to park military vehicles.

The main building will provide space for administrative and educational facilities, as well as an arms vault.

“An Army Reserve Center is a training facility which provides Army Reserve personnel the best-possible facilities in which to work, train and prepare to answer their nation’s call, both at home and abroad,” Salvatore R. Ottaviano, a public affairs specialist for the 99th Readiness Division, said in March. “Without these training facilities, the Army Reserve’s service men and women would be unable to carry out their missions.”

The facility will support the training and mobilization of 300 reservists in 11 units, which have outgrown their facilities in Dover and Lewes and will be relocated to Newark.

Approximately 15 full-time employees will work out of the building, mostly performing vehicle maintenance. On weekends, reservists will train there in groups of up to 100 at a time, Ottaviano said.

Construction is expected to begin next year and be complete by 2022.

The existing 81,000-sq.-foot. armed forces reserve center opened in 2012 to support Army Reserve and Delaware Army National Guard units. It includes an assembly room, kitchen, weapons simulator, classrooms and physical fitness rooms.

The massive defense bill also removes funding limits on the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), which is housed at the University of Delaware.

“It brings me great pride that Delawareans are leading the world in the development, testing, and production of medicines of the future,” Sen. Chris Coons said in a prepared statement. “With this bill, and the vital federal funding opportunity it creates, Delaware’s innovators will continue to not only save lives, but also create jobs for generations of high-skilled Delawareans who will manufacture these lifesaving drugs. Also, other states are empowered to follow Delaware’s lead by forming new institutes specializing in other vital areas of manufacturing.”

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