From: The Record, Wednesday, January 17, 1996. p. N-3

Repairs Starting At Snow-Damaged Armory

By Jeff  Pillets, Staff Writer 

Emergency repairs are expected to begin today at the National Guard Armory in Teaneck, a 58-year-old landmark where part of a masonry wall collapsed under last week's snowfall.

"We'll do whatever is needed to get the armory up and running as fast as possible," said Ray Martyniuk, a spokesman for the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

"That's the biggest armory in the state. We'll bring it back better than ever," he said. "It has a lot of good years left."

Insurance adjusters and township inspectors were at the armory Tuesday assessing the damage to the massive brick building at Teaneck and Liberty roads. They were joined by representatives of a Morristown engineering firm that the state hired on an emergency basis to oversee the repairs.

Martyniuk said most of the damage is a 10-by-20-foot hole that opened up in the south wall when a support beam gave way under the weight of rapidly melting snow and ice. Part of the main floor beneath the hole sustained heavy water damage and must be replaced, he said.

The collapse happened Saturday, and no one was injured.

Although Teaneck officials initially feared that the roof would collapse, it apparently was not damaged. They said the beam that gave way was not part of the steel structure supporting the arched roof.

"It would take a lot to bring that roof down. This place was built like a true fortress," Deputy Fire Chief Robert Montgomery said.

Work crews were to begin carting away collapsed sections of the wall this Morning.  Other work was to begin Thursday. 

In the meantime, the main auditorium under the damaged wall has been closed. Administrative offices in the front of the armory will remain open for a small crew of National Guard personnel normally on duty.

The armory will remain home to about 300 members of the Army's 50th Support Battalion who drill there one weekend a month.

Budget cuts by Governor Whitman's administration have curtailed community use of the armory, which is owned by the state. The governor has denied funding for a capital improvement plan that would bring the armory into compliance with recently passed fire safety codes, Martyniuk said.

For decades, the armory was the site for a range of events including political conventions, big-band concerts, midget auto races, and high school proms.

In the 1967-68 season, it was the home of the New Jersey Americans, a charter member of the former American Basketball Association. The team moved to Long Island the next year and became the New York Nets. Today the franchise is the National Basketball Association's New Jersey Nets.

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