RADFORD, Va. - One of Radford Army Ammunition Plant's best kept secrets is its family housing complex, referred to locally as Staff Village. It offers 20 housing units to military members from all services. Residents include recruiters, ROTC, the installation commander, and service members seeking higher education degrees at the numerous colleges and universities surrounding Radford.

"The cost of living is very, very high in the area, an E-5 couldn't survive in this economy without this housing," said Betty Roop, Radford's Administrative Contracting Office staff housing specialist.

"The next closest military housing complex is at least four hours away," said Dan McGlothlin, one of Radford's ACO staff civil engineers.

Staff Village was built in 1941 when the plant was first constructed. Demolition of the homes was discussed, but the Army realized the value of Staff Village and instead began investing in it.

"In Fiscal Year 07, we began remodeling the quarters. No remodeling had been done in 23 years. We replaced windows, roofs and gutters. We moved oil tanks out of the basements and to the outside. We did chimney work and began remodeling the kitchens," said Roop.

Under Lt. Col. (P) Jon Drushal, Radford's commander, the repairs and updates have continued, said Roop. "The commander is focused on family housing. He has brought things up to standards and expects them to be kept up to standards."

Work continues on modernizing kitchens and McGlothlin coordinates closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to ensure that the new areas meet Radford's stringent standards. "We are trying constantly to make it more modernized," said Roop.

The next wave of improvements includes converting two-bedroom duplexes into four-bedroom houses and modernizing bathrooms. "Since many service members have more than one child, this will increase our occupancy rates," said Roop.

"These houses are really nice. It's a quiet neighborhood atmosphere. I know I wouldn't mind living there," said McGlothlin. "They are very, very nice two story houses," said Roop.

Staff Village also contains a new playground constructed within the last few years.

There is a strong sense of community within the village. Neighborhood activities include an annual Christmas decoration contest, potluck parties, a Christmas-tree lighting ceremony, and other events throughout the year.

"We have had Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy, and National Guard members staying here. We keep these houses up so that our service members will not have to bear the additional expense in an area with a very high cost of living," said Roop.

To learn more about Radford's Staff Village, visit them online at www.onestop.army.mil.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16