The West Virginia National Guard will pursue a lease-purchase agreement for land in Spencer for a new maintenance facility that could keep 30 to 50 jobs in the area.

The long-time National Guard armory in Spencer is being closed, and a new armory is being built at Ripley, called the Jackson County Readiness Center.

Maj. Gen. Melvin Burch, assistant adjutant general, said the agency approved a motion for a lease-purchase agreement of land behind the Spencer Wal-Mart for a "rebuilding and maintenance initiative."

Burch said the initiative will keep about 30 to 50 jobs in the area. The jobs would be civilian jobs, but officials will ask out-of-work Guardsmen be given first priority.

Burch said state Guard officials have been in contact a with officials in Spencer about the current armory that is being closed.

He said the Roane County Board of Education and the City of Spencer have expressed interest in the building.

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