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Traffic, including military humvee vehicles, flows into Galloway Gate, the entrance to the National Guard base still known as Fort McClellan.

 

There is still a Fort McClellan in Anniston, and soon there may be a little more of it.

State officials are considering bids to build an all-ranks club for soldiers at the Alabama National Guard facility on the north edge of town. It’s one of a handful of construction projects in the works at Guard facilities in the county, though Guard officials say those projects don’t represent a major expansion.

“This is pretty normal for the end of the budget year,” said Lt. Col. Lee Desmond, the point of contact for construction projects at the Guard’s Montgomery headquarters.

The state last month began advertising a request for bids to build an all-ranks club — a bar-like gathering place for soldiers  at the base. Separate ads called for bids to build fencing and do road construction projects at Pelham Range, the artillery training site near Alexandria.

The two facilities are the last remnants of the Fort McClellan Anniston once knew — a full-fledged, federally run Army base that brought thousands of basic trainees to town and housed the Army’s schools for military police and chemical warfare experts.

The current base remains a training hub for the Guard, hosting its officer training school and engineer and military police courses. Base officials say the facility has about 100 full-time permanent employees, plus a few hundred additional staffers, at any given time, who are on weekend drills or other duty.

Sgt. Arthur Jones, a spokesman for the base, said the fort doesn’t currently have an all-ranks club. Desmond, the colonel, said the work would expand an existing building to include a volleyball court.

Desmond said proposed work at McClellan amounted to maintenance of existing roads and facilities.

“I don’t mean to downplay it, but this is something we do pretty regularly,” he said.

 

Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.

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