AUGUSTA — Maine National Guard leaders broke ground on the future site of the new headquarters near the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery off Civic Center Drive during a ceremony Thursday morning.

The planned 100,000-square-foot headquarters will serve as the Joint Forces Headquarters for both the Army and Air Guard in Maine, housing the senior staff that provide personnel, intelligence, operations, logistics, resource guidance and support to the major commands in the Maine National Guard.

Several Maine National Guard leaders spoke at the construction site Thursday morning before digging into the ground with golden shovels while wearing American flag hard hats. Brig. Gen. Gerald F. Bolduc began the groundbreaking by taking a couple scoops out of the ground with an excavator.

“In our career, we never thought we would see this,” Bolduc said. “And here we are celebrating a groundbreaking. It’s phenomenal.”

The $32 million building is expected to be completed in late 2017 and begin to be occupied in the beginning of 2018, said Lt. Col. Normand Michaud, project manager for the Guard. It will be called Camp Chamberlain, named after Maj. Gen. Joshua Chamberlain, the former Maine governor, adjutant general and Civil Ware hero.

“We’re building a state-of-the-art facility for the future airmen and soldiers of the Maine National Guard,” Bolduc said at the ceremony. “This new headquarters will enable us to better serve our community, more efficiently and more effectively.”

Some services will remain Camp Keyes in Augusta after the new headquarters is complete, including family and veterans outreach services, Army National Guard training sites, facilities maintenance and the printing plant.

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