Work is well underway to expand the Military Vehicle Storage Compound, commonly known as the "Bull Pen" at the Pratt Army National Guard Armory.

Heavy earth-moving equipment has created mounds of dirt and level, open areas around the Army National Guard Armory building at 207 Rochester in Pratt.

Land is being prepared to enlarge the Military Vehicle Storage Compound, commonly referred to as the “Bull Pen.” A Bull Pen is paved with bitumen, concrete, paving block, cobblestone or gravel and tar and is used for parking military and commercial vehicles, trailers and generators, said Jane Welch, acting director of Public Affairs for the Adjutant General’s Department.

Equipment stored in an MVSC includes High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, Light Medium Tactical Vehicles and Palletized Load System vehicles.

The expansion is necessary because the current MVSC is not large enough to handle the amount of military equipment assigned to the Pratt unit. The previous MVSC was approximately 13,000 square feet and the new area will more than double the size at 40,000 square feet. The new area will be covered primarily with gravel and will be enclosed with a chain link fence, Welch said.

This project had been put on hold due to funding issues. Funding for this $281,000 project became available in August and work to get contracts for project began immediately. The project is expected to take three months to complete and should be finished around Feb. 1, 2019, Welch said.

As far as operations at the Pratt Guard Unit is concerned, during construction, the equipment normally at Pratt is being stored at other sites. Soldiers assigned to Pratt are not able to train on their equipment without additional travel time.

“The expanded MVSC will allow the unit to store more of their assigned equipment on site giving the soldiers better access to the equipment for training,” Welch said.

At this time, the Pratt National Guard Armory is the only unit in Kansas that is expanding their MVSC. However, both the Coffeyville and Augusta National Guard MVSC areas have been expanded in recent years. The expansions occur do to changes in equipment or the type of units assigned to the armory, Welch said.