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Guard plans to build two facilities in Jackson County

The Mississippi Army National Guard has moved a step closer to building two new armories in Jackson County.

The Jackson County Board of Supervisors voted Monday to obtain 22 acres in the St. Martin community and another 18 acres adjacent to the Trent Lott International Airport for the new facilities.

Maj. Gen. Harold Cross, the state’s adjutant general, said the planned armories could also be used for polling places and possibly as a post-storm shelter.

Cross said the Guard wants the county to donate the property to make way for a new 40,000 square foot multi-use readiness center on the 22 acres in St. Martin.

The center in west Jackson County would offer 10 to 15 permanent jobs, with an estimated 150 guardsmen training on alternate weekends.

The site would replace the armory near Hiller Park in Biloxi and the armory near downtown Ocean Springs, both of which Hurricane Katrina destroyed.

On the 18 acres near the Trent Lott International Airport, the Guard plans to build a 33,000 square foot facility to house the 890th Engineering Battalion.