With a quick snip, the new Gulfport Army National Guard Readiness Center was officially opened for business.
Hundreds of state and community leaders, along with members of the 890th Engineer Battalion, gathered in front of the facility Wednesday afternoon to reflect on the past and look toward the future.
"We're so proud to see you move from the 15, 000 square foot facility to the 64,000 square foot facility here at this location," said Major General Harold Cross.
"We are moving out of a building that 53 years old and moving over into a facility here at the Air base CRTC and we have 8 units within South Mississippi and this is the command cell for those 8 units," said battalion commander Lt. Commander Johnny Sellers.
Many members of the 890th Engineer Battalion were mobilized to Iraq before this building was ever completed, but now they are home, and what a home it is.
"We have generators here, we have hazmat here, we have our own fuels here, and it's the most modern up-to-date facility that the engineers have on the south end of Mississippi," said LTC Sellers.
Many of the troops find joy in the little things the building has to offer like a new auditorium, a briefing room, a spacious dining area, and lots of office space.
"I think it's great. The first time I saw it, I was in awe. I couldn't believe all this was just for us. It's really nice," said Specialist Alisha Kemp.
And after serving in Iraq for over a year, they believe this was definitely a nice welcome home gift for those who helped to rebuild the lives of others .
The new building costs a little more than seven million dollars.