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House passes bill giving use of land to Guard

WASHINGTON — A bill that formalizes the Nevada Army National Guard’s use of 45 acres of land in the southern part of the Las Vegas Valley was approved by the House this week.

The tract northwest of Silverado Ranch Boulevard and Arville Street is occupied by the Las Vegas Readiness Center, a $27 million Nevada Army National Guard armory, which will be fully in use by June.

Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., sponsored the bill that conveys the Clark County land to the Nevada Division of State Lands for use by the National Guard. The Guard is leasing the property until the transfer is completed.

"I commend the National Guard soldiers who volunteer to serve at home and overseas in order to keep our country safe," Porter said during debate Tuesday. "It is incumbent upon us to provide the proper facilities that will ensure these soldiers are well-trained and prepared."

The bill passed by voice vote Tuesday and was sent to the Senate, where Nevada lawmakers are weighing further options, aides said.

Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev., and Harry Reid, D-Nev., might choose to have the transfer done administratively rather than through legislation if it can be accomplished quicker, said John Lopez, Ensign’s chief of staff.

"One way or another, we’ll get this done," Lopez said. Operations at the center will not be affected in the meantime, he said.

The 80,000-square-foot building, the third Guard armory in the Las Vegas Valley, was dedicated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 3. Nearly 400 Nevada soldiers will undergo training there.

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