FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers are beginning to move into a $17.1 million renovated barracks on the east side of the installation, the 62nd barracks to be renovated here since 2011.
Troops from 6th Battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division Artillery, which re-activated with the First Team in June, have been moving into the newly-renovated structure, Building 14023 located on 37th Street, for the past two weeks.
The barracks is one of eight H-Frame structures on the installation, originally built in 1958 according to Brent Cabaniss, chief of Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works’ Engineering Division.
Cabaniss said this is the seventh of eight renovations of the H-Frame models, with the final renovation, also in the 14000 block, expected to be completed by the end of this month.
In all, Fort Hood has renovated 62 of its 99 existing barracks since 2011, Cabaniss said, noting that seven more buildings are currently under renovation with completion dates scheduled for the summer of 2023.
“We’re making great progress on barracks renovations,” he said, adding that funding was secured in late July to renovate four more barracks. “We still have work to do, but we’ve really made great progress.”
Cabaniss said five more barracks are programmed to be funded and awarded renovation projects in fiscal year 2023.
For the troops moving into a new barracks now, though, it means improving their quality of life. The renovated facility offers new furniture, appliances and are configured to the Army’s one-plus-one standard, meaning that each suite has two private bedrooms with a shared bathroom and kitchen area.
“(My) initial reaction? I feel that it’s good for the Soldiers to have privacy and I like that the higher ups are able to put us in private rooms,” Pfc. Elijah Rodriguez, a missile defense crew member with 6-56 ADA. “Even though we share common spaces, it kind of gives us more time to like, relax and reset for the new day. (I) definitely enjoy that.”
Rodriguez’s roommate, Pfc. Jens Gifford, an air defense system repairman, said the new room is a vast improvement to lodging in an unrenovated barracks he had when he arrived in December.
“I’m glad I’m here,” he said. “I’m grateful.”
Pfc. Luis Lopez, a missile defense crew member, arrived at Fort Hood in mid-May from his first duty assignment at Camp Humphreys, Korea. He said the newly-renovated barracks are very similar to what he lived in overseas, and more spacious than his temporary lodging when he first arrived, as well.
“Over here, it’s really nice,” he said. “Honestly, because one of the rooms here is about the size of the (shared) rooms we had over there (in the unrenovated barracks).”
Andy Heinchon is a contracting officer representative and project engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Fort Worth District. He’s been working for USACOE for more than three decades … the past 21 years at Fort Hood. Seeing progress on the installation, especially in the quality of life for Soldiers, is gratifying to him.
“It makes me feel good,” he said. “I like when we give the Soldiers something nice. It’s a good feeling.”
When the final H-Frame barracks is completed later this month, 63 barracks will have been renovated on post since 2011 at a cost of $681 million.