Military housing, hospitals get a makeover

President Clinton's signature Aug. 17 on the fiscal 2000 Military Construction Appropriation Act green lights $8.4 billion in new barracks, homes, medical facilities and other projects.

The act provides $643 million for troop housing and $151 million for hospital and medical facilities.

It also provides $771 million for new family housing units and $2.8 billion for operations and maintenance of existing housing units.

The act appropriates $1.17 billion for Army family housing, $1.23 billion for Navy and Marine Corps family housing and $1.19 billion for Air Force family housing.

The president requested $78 million for the DoD Family Housing Improvement Fund, which is used to fund housing privatization projects. Congress appropriated $2 million- the other $76 million went into family housing military construction projects.

In the privatization program, basically, private companies build or refurbish family housing units and then manage them according to rules, rents and standards negotiated with DoD. The department invests 20 percent to 25 percent of the project cost; contractors borrow the rest from commercial financial institutions.

"Congress intended DoD to test the program first," said Mike Catanzaro, a congressional spokesman. "It's Congress' position that we first have to see if [privatization] works. Will it get housing for military families? The money appropriated will allow the services to continue pilot programs to test the initiative. You don't build a tank and put it right in the field, you test it after you develop it. This is the same thing."

Congress took the $76 million from the privatization program and programmed it toward traditional military family housing construction. Projects at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., are programmed for more than $22 million and projects at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., $20 million.

Fort Lewis, Wash., has about $9 million for new housing and Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., $6 million. Naval Training Center Great Lakes, Ill., and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., are slated to receive $14.4 million and almost $5 million, respectively, for construction improvements.

Joseph Sikes, DoD's director of competitive sourcing and privatization, said Congress' action works to the department's favor. He said DoD has the authority to use military construction money for traditional contracting or for privatization efforts if it chooses.

DoD has no such flexibility with privatization funds, Sikes said. For instance, if DoD decides for whatever reason not to proceed with a privatization project, that part of the fund cannot be transferred for use in a military construction account, he said.

Randall Yim, deputy undersecretary of defense for installations, said DoD is working with Congress to find the "right mix of privatized housing and traditional housing."

"There are certain areas not as conducive to privatization," he said. "Congress told us very clearly, they want the mix of housing. We are slowly going forward. We would all like to see a robust program."

Yim called privatization deals complicated. He predicted future projects will go much faster and smoother once DoD officials gain experience and have some completed projects under their belt.

Highlights of the military construction act include:

  • Alabama Maxwell Air Force Base-officer training school dormitory. Dannelly Field Air National Guard Station- medical training and dining facility.
  • Alaska Fort Richardson-whole barracks complex renewal. Fort Wainwright -Military Operations in Urban Terrain training facility and hospital replacement.
  • Arizona Marine Corps Air Station Yuma-child development center addition.
  • California Fort Irwin- rotational unit facility maintenance area. Camp Pendleton -bachelor enlisted quarters, NCO academy. Naval Air Station Lemoore -new gymnasium. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey-gymnasium. Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego-physical fitness center addition. San Diego Naval Medical Center-BEQ modernization. Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center 29 Palms- BEQ. Los Angeles AFB- medical/dental clinic replacement.
  • Colorado Schriever AFB -child development center, physical fitness center. U.S. Air Force Academy-upgrade academic facility. vDistrict of Columbia Walter Reed Army Medical Center-physical fitness training center.
  • Florida Eglin AFB-dining facility and dormitory. MacDill AFB - physical fitness center. NAS Jacksonville-upgrade medical/dental branch clinic. vGeorgia Fort Benning-whole barracks complex renewal. Fort Stewart-multipurpose training range, whole barracks complex renewal plus dining facility.
  • Hawaii Schofield Barracks- whole barracks complex renewal. Naval Station Pearl Harbor-BEQ modernization.
  • Illinois Naval Training Center Great Lakes-all-weather running track, BEQ, drill hall replacement, recruit in-processing barracks.
  • Kansas Fort Leavenworth- whole barracks complex renewal. Fort Riley -consolidated troop medical clinic.
  • Kentucky Fort Campbell-MOUT training complex, physical fitness training center, whole barracks complex renewal. Fort Knox- automated record firing range, multipurpose digital training range.
  • Maryland Fort Meade -whole barracks complex renewal.
  • Mississippi Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport-BEQ modernization and renovation. Keesler AFB -student dining facility, student dormitory. Camp Shelby - multipurpose range complex.
  • Missouri Whiteman AFB - B-2 low observable restoration facility, physical fitness center.
  • Montana Malmstrom AFB-dormitory.
  • New York Fort Drum - consolidated soldier/family support center. U.S. Military Academy - cadet physical development center.
  • North Carolina Fort Bragg -MOUT training complex, barracks upgrades, whole barracks complex renewal. Camp Lejeune - physical fitness center. MCAS New River- family services center, Tarawa Terrace II elementary school.
  • Ohio Wright-Patterson AFB -physical fitness center.
  • Oklahoma Tinker AFB- dormitory.
  • Pennsylvania Carlisle Barracks - whole barracks complex renewal.
  • South Carolina Fort Jackson- emergency service center. Naval Weapons Station Charleston-child development center.
  • Texas Fort Hood - soldier service center, whole barracks complex renewal. Dyess AFB- child development center. Lackland AFB -dormitory. Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base -BEQ.
  • Virginia Fort Eustis - education center, whole barracks complex renewal. Fleet Combat Training Center Atlantic Fleet Dam Neck-BEQ. NS Norfolk -BEQ replacement. Langley AFB - dormitory.
  • Washington Fort Lewis - physical fitness training center.
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