DURANT, Oklahoma - The Oklahoma National Guard officially opens its new armory in Durant. The 1st Squadron, 180th Cavalry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the newly remodeled armory on Wednesday, June 19.

The armory has been a part of the local community since 1969 with an original building cost of less than $250,000. During the renovations, 22,000 square feet were added to the armory along with updates including modern electrical power, fire alarms, sprinklers and insulation. The updates brought the facility up to code and also made it more functional and safe.

"It's been a good building, but it needed a face-lift," said Maj. Shane Riley, former Executive Officer for the 180th and native of Durant. "You could see all the wear and tear; a renovation was due."

The nearly $2 million renovations began last June. The remodeled facility includes many new features such as a Distance Learning Computer Lab, a Physical Fitness Room and classrooms.

"We want the community to feel like this is their organization," Riley said. "We've been here for years. We've enjoyed great support from the community. We want them to share this with us."

The 180th is the oldest battalion in the 45th IBCT, dating back to the late 1800s. The 180th has been an active component of the United States Military throughout its history, including serving in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"The unit's been a part of Durant for years… we have a long history in the community," said Riley. "You don't want it to not have a professional face. It's a statement to the community: We're a Guard unit, a Guard state, and we're here to stay."

Earlier this year, the 180th returned home after supporting overseas contingency operations in the Kuwait and Afghanistan.