FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Large-scale renovation efforts for 17 barracks buildings in Bastogne’s footprint are moving ahead, and the Directorate of Public Works, or DPW, aims to have the first two completed by early next year.
Work on the project began in summer 2021 to improve housing conditions for Soldiers.
Marshall Biter, chief, Engineering Division, DPW, said the goal is to finish at least two buildings per year until completion starting with buildings 3713 and 3725.
“We’re hoping these major renovations lower the overall maintenance issues that we’ve been having and improve the quality of life for the Soldiers,” Biter said. “We want to give them more space for their gear so they can focus on the mission at hand and not have to worry about any issues with their rooms.”
The renovations will raise ceilings, improve lighting and convert existing two-bedroom areas into larger one-bedroom suites, he said.
“The current layout has a small kitchenette, a shared bathroom and two bedrooms,” Biter said. “The new layout in the same square footage will have one larger kitchenette, and off of that there will be two individual larger bedrooms with their own bathrooms.”
There are currently 2,488 bed spaces across the 17 barracks buildings included in the project and the renovations will reduce that number by half.
Biter said the installation is seeking Military Construction, or MILCON, funding to build new barracks as a result, and the Fort Campbell Housing Services Office is working to relocate any Soldiers impacted in the meantime.
U.S. Army Installation Management Command, or IMCOM, has already provided full funding for renovating the first two barracks.
“The quality levels of those barracks are rated lower than the other ones on post, and that’s part of the reason we were able to get funding for these renovations,” Biter said. “Barracks and quality of life are among the top priorities for the installation, so that’s why we were able to get funding and get these projects started.”
The buildings included in the project were built in the 1970s through Project Volunteer Army, or VOLAR, making them the installation’s most outdated barracks.
“These renovations should leave a huge impact on the quality of life in that footprint,” Biter said. “There will be larger bedrooms, private bathrooms and all new finishes. One of the bigger things is that the occupant of each unit will be able to control their air conditioning system similar to a hotel.”
The new system will allow Soldiers to adjust the heating and cooling as needed, Biter said.
All VOLAR barracks will be connected to their own air conditioning systems as the renovation efforts move forward. Biter said he expects contracts for the next two buildings will be awarded this fiscal year, and DPW has two more at the contracting stage in case they are given additional funding.
“I think the project is going well,” Biter said. “On the first couple of barracks we have found some unforeseen issues that put us a bit behind schedule, but we’re taking those issues into account for future renovations to try and improve the overall project.”