NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Soldiers attended the reopening of the James H. Diamond United States Army Reserve Center, May 17. The facility was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

There are 14 units that operate from the reserve center, said Lt. Col. Matthew T. Sims, the director for the 469th Financial Management Center. There are approximately 40 people that work in the building full time and approximately 450 Soldiers that attend battle assembly one weekend each month. Sims, a native of Rosedale, Miss., said the newly renovated space allows for the Soldiers to have more than enough space for everyone to do their work in comfort. With all of the equipment required to perform training and missions, it is important to have the needed space available, Sims said.

"Essentially, all the walls in the building were torn out and now all you have is offices on the south side of the building with an open space in the center where we have cubicles throughout three quarters of the building," Sims said.

"So, it is a much more open configuration in the building now. I think that it makes the layout more conducive towards teambuilding and working together. I think that there was a great effort made in ensuring that the building was designed for the team-like work effort that exists in the Army today," Sims said.

The facility was reconstructed and renovated by QBS Inc., a general contractor from Alliance, Ohio, said Mr. Timothy D. Sykes, the supervisory staff administrator for the 469th FMC. The cost of the whole project was approximately $17 million.

Contractors almost gutted the entire facility. The arms room was the only structure left untouched, said Sykes, a native of New Orleans.

Historically, the reserve center dates back to World War II when it was known as Camp LeRoy Johnson, said Sykes. It served its role with two main missions; to be the base hospital for injured Soldiers, and to serve as an airfield to train upcoming pilots.

Today, the lakefront is all that is left of the airfield. He said several parts of what was then Camp LeRoy Johnson was turned over to public agencies to include the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Southern University at New Orleans.

"The reserve center is the only one structure left that still remains entirely for the military," Sykes said.

The units occupying the reserve center include the 4010th U.S. Army Hospital, 7232nd Installation Medical Support Unit, 787th Military History Detachment, 54th Military History Detachment, 1002nd Quartermaster Company, the 1192nd U.S. Army Transportation Terminal Battalion, 215th Public Affairs Detachment, 441st Transportation Company, 150th Judge Adjutant General Detachment, 3rd Judge Advocate General Detachment, 22nd Judge Advocate General Detachment, and the 2nd Judge Advocate General Detachment.

(Staff Sgt. Fleming is with the 210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)