Wetzel Demo
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

BAUMHOLDER, Germany -- Crews are demolishing several legacy apartment buildings in Baumholder's Wetzel Housing Area signaling the start of an almost decade-long project that should see new housing construction in Fiscal Year 2021.

"The first 72 units in Wetzel are already being designed," said Jim Gillis, senior housing management specialist at Baumholder.

Those 72 units will be townhomes located in the lower Wetzel area. The Army previously had housing on that parcel. Much of the infrastructure was in place and ready for upgrading and improvements, according to Gillis.

The housing project's first changes will be on Baumholder's Smith Barracks where housing buildings will be "right-sized." For example, buildings with 24 smaller apartments will be remodeled so they only have 16 more spacious apartments, according to Gillis.

"Those 16 apartments [in buildings on Smith Barracks] will have elevator access and be way bigger than the 24 were before to accommodate for American furniture and more elbow room," he said.

Baumholder housing reached another milestone Oct. 2 when the last residing family moved out of Quality 4 rated housing. The family's move met then-Under Secretary of the Army (now Secretary of the Army) Ryan McCarthy's order from early this year that all military families be moved out of Q4 housing. The Army considers Q4 housing its lowest-rated housing.

"We will stop at nothing to make sure that we are doing the right thing by our Soldiers," McCarthy said in an interview earlier this year. "It shouldn't take us going to stand in someone's kitchen to understand the extent of the problem."

"Soldiers and families living in installation housing have a right to safe, clean and healthy homes. Our mission is to ensure that happens," said Col. Jason Edwards, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz commander. "Residents are encouraged to use existing reporting systems to request maintenance of their quarters. Additionally, Soldiers and families are encouraged to bring any issue to installation leadership and the Soldier's chain of command."

Housing and barracks work orders for Baumholder can be submitted during duty hours at 0611-143-531-3060, or DSN 531-3060. The emergency or after-hours number is 06783-6-115 or DSN 115. Work orders for barracks residents in Kaiserslautern can be called in to 0631-411-7175 or DSN 483-7175.