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Apr 23, 2019

Washington Emergency Management Division

Military Department honored with DOD Environmental Award

Posted by Washington Emergency Management Division

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Before and After: Camp Murray headquarters roof replacement. The headquarters was among the historic structures that were included in the first attempt to develop Maintenance and Treatment Plans for Washington National Guard facilities deemed eligible for National  Register  of  Historic  Places.

The Washington Military Department was honored with a 2019 Secretary of Defense Environmental Award on Earth Day.

The Construction and Facility Management Office, run by both state and federal employees, was honored with a cultural resources management award for how the office takes care of its historic structures on Camp Murray as well as several Washington National Guard armories across its network.

The agency was one of nine winners across 32 nominees.

Since 1962, the Secretary of Defense Environmental Awards have honored the outstanding efforts of service members and civilians across the Department of Defense to conserve the nation's natural and cultural resources, protect human health, prevent or eliminate pollution at the source, clean up contaminated DOD sites, and incorporate environmental requirements into weapon system acquisition, according to a news release. The DOD components leverage technology to develop innovative solutions to existing and emerging human health and environmental challenges. 

“Over the past  two  years,  the  Cultural  Resources  Management   program  for  the installation  has  focused  on  enhancing  management  of  eight  historic  armories  and training site areas statewide, two historic districts, and six historic buildings on Camp Murray,” a fact sheet accompanying the award states. “With a holistic approach to managing these structures and historic districts, the   WAARNG   installation   cultural   resources   are   now   safeguarded   by   new maintenance and treatment plans, while the WAARNG’s readiness operations have been improved by modernizations to those structures that help the organization meet its mission.”

The award noted that the plan guided a “much-needed roof remodel replicating original tiles at the Camp Murray Headquarters Building 1 in 2017, the cleaning and preservation of a historic horse trough, and walls and windows replacement for Camp Murray Building 26.”

Maintenance and treatment plans were also done for the Longview Armory, a post-World War II-era building, as well as the Centralia Armory, an Art Moderne-style armory characterized as “a site where local history and military presence have collided.”

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Archaeological investigation at Centralia Armory site. Many historic artifacts were recovered.

While creating a new parking lot in Centralia, the remains of a Baptist seminary that was one of the first schools built in the area was found. Agency officials worked with local leaders and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture to help preserve hundreds of artifacts that were discovered, many of which are now on a long-term loan for to the local Lewis County Historical Museum. A soldier with the Washington National Guard is credited with discovering the artifacts.

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Historic photo of Grace Seminary. The building opened as a seminary in 1893. From 1905-1919, it served as Centralia General Hospital.

After the inadvertent discovery of the artifacts, the fact sheet accompanying the award notes that Cultural Resources Management staff also helped achieve a continuing resolution with the state  Legislature to fund a statue honoring the founder of Centralia.