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A new field maintenance facility for Wisconsin Army National Guard vehicles and equipment is officially open for business after an open house Aug. 13 in Wausau, Wisconsin.

Known as FMS (Field Maintenance Shop) 13, the nearly 33,000 square-foot building located at 2631 N. 14th Ave. is Silver LEED certified and replaces the former facility at 833 S. 17th Ave.

Construction on the $9 million building began in July 2013, and the new facility now boasts six working maintenance bays, a drive-thru wash bay and six cold storage bays where equipment that was previously stored outdoors and exposed to the elements can now be housed. A key feature of the new building is the 15-ton overhead crane it includes. The crane will make it easy for maintenance technicians to pull the engines out of vehicles and lift other heavy machinery and equipment.

sm150622-Z-ZZ999-002.jpgFMS 13 employs eight Wisconsin National Guard personnel and is now capable of servicing the largest vehicles in the Army’s inventory. The previous facility was limited in its capacity to provide maintenance to the largest vehicles, and as the size of military vehicles grew and occupational safety standards increased over the years, it was apparent that the former maintenance shop could no longer meet the needs of the Guard.

“It’s a night and day difference,” Warrant Officer Candidate James Tessmer, FMS 13’s supervisor said of moving into the new facility. “We’re moving from a 1950s building to a modern building with all the bells and whistles.”

The former building was completed in 1959, and additions were added over the years.

Tessmer said the new FMS 13 is compliant with occupational safety on approximately and sits on approximately 40 acres of land owned by the National Guard.

FMS 13 services Wisconsin Army National Guard facilities in north central Wisconsin including armories in Wausau, Tomahawk, Rhinelander, Medford, Antigo and Merrill.