Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, VA – The U.S. Army is putting its money where its mouth is.
Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth recently pledged to boost the Army’s annual barracks budget, which will positively affect several ongoing barracks projects and future sustainability projects at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
In collaboration with Army Materiel Command and Installation Management Command, Army leaders are allocating $150 million as a part of the Facility Investment Plan, which includes money for quality-of-life services like housing and barracks.
“Renovating and upgrading the barracks that our Marines and Soldiers live in is something we have been working on for years,” said Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Commander Col. David Bowling. “It’s also a top priority for the Army and the joint base has received several hundred million dollars in funding specifically for barracks.”
JBM-HH is using a portion of the money to construct and renovate Building 416 and Barracks 248 on the installation, improving the quality of life for nearly 1,000 Marines and Soldiers living on the joint base.
The Swing Space Barracks
Construction on the new barracks is set to begin in January 2025, but now that site is home to the Swing Space Barracks project, which IMCOM and AMC funded through the FIP.
The temporary living space will provide 120 Marines with two-bedroom suites and common areas such as dayrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens.
The living quarters ensure Marines find safety, companionship with other service members while away from home, and a no-cost living situation while renovations at Building 416, known as the Marine Barracks, are underway.
The temporary, relocatable barracks are going up at 406 McNair Road.
Col. Bowling, Marine Headquarters and Service Battalion Commander Col. A. R. Winthrop, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other joint base leaders broke ground Sept. 15 on the Swing Space Barracks.
“Quality of life issues are one of the most significant variables that determine whether a Marine elects to stay beyond their initial contract,” said Col. Winthrop. “The upcoming renovation of Building 416 will pay tremendous long-term dividends and demonstrate that the Joint Base team is committed to the future success of our Marines assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps."
Meanwhile, the Marine Barracks will get a much-needed renovation to include repairing and upgrading the HVAC, roof, electrical, pumping, interior fixtures, and regrading the center courtyard.
The building will have 120 bedspaces at the expected completion date of May 2025.
Barracks 248, which houses Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment, will see repairs and upgrades to the HVAC, electrical, pumping and reconfigure the building with a 140 square foot bedroom with 32 square foot closet per service member, a shared bathroom, and a common area with kitchenette.
The project is expected to be completed in October 2024. It will maintain the historic look of the outside of the building while upgrading the interior to a more modern standard, updating HVAC and adding two more bedspaces.
Service members living in barracks on the joint base also have the Army Maintenance Activity app and website, also knowns as ArMa, to quickly submit any issues they are having in the barracks along with pictures.
“This is a great tool to ensure we are providing our service members with the quality housing they deserve,” said Eric Cope, director of Public Works at the joint base. “This allows us to communicate with Soldiers and Marines living on the joint base, track their maintenance requests and address them in a timely manner.”
Sustaining for the future
Housing is a focus for Secretary Wormuth, who has been touring barracks facilities and speaking out about the challenges.
“I think we have underinvested a little bit in housing, and so that is something that I am really, really focused on,” said Wormuth during the recent Maneuver Warfighting Conference at Fort Benning. “I want to make sure that our soldiers — that you all and that your families have quality housing to live in. And that’s an area [where] I think we’ve got work to do.”
Secretary Wormuth went on to say that for decades there was not as much focus on the infrastructure of military bases.
“With everything that we were doing in the last 20 years, where the focus was so much downrange, you know, we probably were not paying as close attention to our own infrastructure as we are right now,” said Wormuth.
Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston echoed those concerns in an October Army Times interview, saying that having timely, adequate, predictable and sustained funding are key in dealing with the challenges surrounding barracks.
“We are working very hard on this,” said Grinston during the interview. “We’ll average over a billion a year through 2030 to build, renovate and sustain our barracks.”
A preventive maintenance program has been developed at the joint base to keep buildings at the current level of quality once repairs and construction are complete.
“We have new contracts in place for HVAC preventative maintenance, as well as for flooring, roofing, and painting,” said Cope. “We believe effective preventative maintenance reduces unscheduled issues and improves quality of life for our Soldiers and Marines.”
Army leaders recognize that by renovating the barracks into sufficient living spaces, they keep their promise to improve the quality of life for service members. The investments into the barracks are part of IMCOM and Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s commitment to the Army’s ‘People First’ initiative, which will benefit service members for years to come on America’s Post.