New dorms improve Airmen morale, enhance Eighth Air Force mission

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brian Stives
  • Eighth Air Force Public Affairs
Across the Eighth Air Force, renovation and construction products for quality of life improvements to dormitories for single Airmen at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., Minot AFB, N.D., and Barksdale AFB, La., are currently underway.

"Quality of life is an on-going project of the Air Force community," said Chief Master Sgt. Brian Hornback, Eighth Air Force command chief. "The renovations and new dormitories show an investment into our single Airmen and are immediately visible to all Airmen. Caring for our Airmen is one of the Air Force's priorities and the Airmen's well-being is my number one priority."

Whiteman Air Force Base
At Whiteman AFB, unaccompanied housing renovations are moving forward with a number of cosmetic and structural updates. Three out of the five facilities, Columbia, Atlantis and Endeavor dormitories, will be renovated and each dorm has a fiscal year set aside for the renovations.

Columbia is the dormitory which is being renovated for March 2011. Changes include new carpet, fresh paint, a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit and an upgraded plumbing system. The current two-pipe climate control system is being replaced with a four-pipe system that features two pipes for heating and two pipes for cooling. In addition, the two separately piped systems will allow heated and cooled water to flow simultaneously. Digital thermostats are also being installed in every room.

"Columbia could be ready as soon as September 2010, or as late as January 2011," said Staff Sgt. Ray Kiser, 509th Civil Engineer Squadron superintendant of unaccompanied housing.

Once the renovation is complete, Airmen currently living in Atlantis will be moved to Columbia permanently. Renovations for Atlantis are scheduled for 2011 and Endeavor is scheduled for 2012.

Wireless internet has also recently been installed in the dayrooms of every facility.

Dorm life extends further than the actual dorms. With this is mind, unaccompanied housing residents can expect a recreation area to be constructed between Discovery and Columbia which is expected to be completed around Nov. 20.

"The point is to make a spot where people 'want' to gather," said Sergeant Kiser.

Minot Air Force Base
As a northern tier base, personnel and their families spend a significant amount of time indoors during the winter months. Therefore, housing and dorms at Minot AFB are authorized additional square footage known as "Arctic Space" to provide room for indoor activities. The new housing facilities are also more energy efficient, which contributes to year-round comfort and decreased utility consumption.

"The last phase of military construction family housing has been turned over to the contractor for demolition," said Renetta Pearson, 5th Civil Engineer Squadron deputy base civil engineer. "This phase will construct the final 113 units out of 520 that were awarded in the 2007 fiscal year as a four year contract. When they care completed in February 2012, Minot will have 1,606 units that have been renovated or replaced since 1992."

The family housing construction isn't the only project ongoing at Minot. In April, construction was completed on an $18.5 million 144-room dormitory. Simultaneously, ground was broken on a second dormitory project contracted for $22 million. A third dormitory is in the process of being awarded in the coming weeks.

Another construction project to enclose the walkway between the commissary and Base Exchange started in July and should be completed by late November.

"The enclosed walkway will provide a safe means of accessing the BX and commissary in adverse weather and sub-zero temperatures we have here," said Mrs. Pearson.

This month, AAFES began renovations at the BX for the addition of a Popeye's Chicken in the food court.

Barksdale Air Force Base
Within the last three months there have been 42 projects completed with 132 still under construction at Barksdale AFB.

Some of the current construction projects include repairing bathroom vanities and sinks in dorms 4640, 4650 and 4664; installing kitchens in dorms 4640, 4660 and 4664; repairing air conditioning units in dorms 4640, 4650, 4660 and 4664; replacing carpeting in dorms 4660 and 4664; the painting of Dorm 4664 and repairing the exterior doors of Dorm 4351.

"As we continue to strengthen the nuclear enterprise, make Air Force Global Strike Command a model major command and elevate Barksdale AFB to new heights, we must provide our Airmen with the facilities and environment in which they can be fully productive and proud to serve," said Lt. Col David Chisenhall Jr, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron commander.

To guarantee proper living conditions for young Airmen, the Air Force will continue making dormitory improvements a top priority, said Chief Hornback.

"Developing and caring for Airmen and their families is a top focus area for our Air Force, and is endorsed at the very highest level," the chief said. "The better facilities we provide our Airmen will increase their morale and enhance the Air Force mission."