Base housing to privatize Oct. 1

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78th ABW/PA
A new era of base housing here at Robins will begin Oct. 1 as base residents transition from traditional base housing to a privatized system of housing.

The privatization contract with a $40.8 million total development cost has been awarded to Hunt Building Company of El Paso, Texas.

The purpose of privatizing base housing was to "ensure affordable, quality housing is available to our Airmen," said Lt. Col. Steve Keller, commander of the 778th Civil Engineer Squadron.

Hunt will take ownership of all of Robins housing on Oct. 1, and all residents can begin signing leases Sept. 10. Residents of housing should schedule an appointment to sign their lease and address any concerns they have about the transfer.

"We want to make this as smooth as possible for you," said Randy Boggs, vice-president of Hunt Building Company.

Danny Queen, Huntington Village community director, encouraged all residents to come and talk about individual issues because this will give company representatives the opportunity to work through issues with base residents.

Residents were given two opportunities this week to attend town hall meetings where information about the transfer was available and residents had the opportunity to ask questions about the transfer.

Col. Theresa Carter, 78th Air Base Wing commander, said she was expecting the transfer of base housing to be positive for everyone involved.

"Hunt has bent over backwards to accommodate our families," she said.

Colonel Carter also stressed that both she and Gen. Tom Owen, WR-ALC commander, would be signing a lease along with the rest of the base residents.

Once the transfer begins base housing residents will continue to see renovation and demolition projects continue throughout the residential communities on base for approximately 32 months.

There will be 385 houses demolished on base and 76 new homes constructed under the contract. There will also be 84 two-bedroom units converted to four-bedroom units and 89 carports converted to garages.

Many younger Airmen came to the meeting concerned the conversion of the two-bedroom units in Turner Park would eventually force them out of base housing. However, Senior Airman Chris Clay, 12th Air Command and Control Squadron, said after the meeting Monday he felt confident the needs of lower-ranking Airmen are being addressed.

"At first I thought they weren't going to do anything for Airmen," Airman Clay said. "But now I know they are going to try to keep us on base and they want to keep us on base."

Representatives from Hunt also explained how the basic allowance for housing will be dispersed for rent payments. Members of the base housing community previously forfeited the BAH payment by living in base housing, but under the privatized system residents will now receive their BAH to use to pay their rent to Hunt properties.

The Hunt representatives also discussed benefits available to housing residents once the transfer is completed such as access to Huntington Village amenities including the Community Center and pools. Hunt will also provide renter's insurance - $20,000 on personal property and $100,000 liability.

As part of the contract a community center will also be built on base for the residents to use for events such as birthday parties and anniversaries. Other amenities such as an exercise room will also be provided.

One of the most exciting benefits according to residents was lawn care. Residents erupted in cheers as the company announced yard maintenance would also begin Oct. 1.

Many residents were pleased with the responses and the information provided by both base personnel and Hunt Military Housing during the town hall meetings, including Robin Addison, a Turner Park resident. Mrs. Addison said she felt like Hunt was really willing to work with residents and were going to be flexible where possible. Other Turner Park residents shared the sentiment.

"I like the way they addressed individual needs and said you could discuss individual needs at the lease appointment," said Leslie Smith.

The Hunt Building Company is the same company that holds the contract for the off-base housing privatized in 2000 and will continue to manage the privatized units in Huntington Village as well, which presently has 670 units of which 300 will no longer be part of base housing. Once the second phase of the project is completed the base will have 577 privatized units available for occupancy some of which will be located off base in Huntington Village and others located on base in the Turner Park and Crestview housing areas.