Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Out with old homes, in with new at Travis AFB

August 13, 2007

Out with old homes, in with new at Travis

By Ian Thompson

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE - Travis Air Force Base is moving ahead with plans to tear down the last of its now-vacant substandard housing, build new homes and let a private contractor maintain them.

Developers have submitted several proposals from developers which Air Force officials are examining, Travis Housing Manager Mark Dupree said.

The Air Force expects to announce which company will get the contract to build and manage Travis' housing in January. This is all part of the Air Force's effort to privatize as much of its housing as possible.

The contract is question calls for building, renovating and managing housing at Travis, Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington and Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

Travis' portion of the plan calls for building 358 homes

"They will be constructed just like an off-base upscale development," Privatization Project Manager Bob Vuneski said.

Under the plan, the contractor would be responsible for all the base's 1,134 houses on land leased from the Air Force for 50 years. The contractor will also be required to periodically renovate and remodel the houses to keep them in top shape.

"This is a great deal for our customers," Dupree said. "There are lot of people who want to live on base."

Demolition crews are in the process of knocking down the last 241 of Travis' oldest homes, which were built in the 1950s and are now considered substandard.

"Our goal is to get rid of all that old Wherry and Capehart housing with the old electrical and sewer systems," Dupree said.

This contract doesn't change the Air Force's policy to have as much of the base's military personnel as possible live outside of the base.

As of August, 72 percent of Travis' military members and their families don't live on the base. Only about 1,100 people live on the base, compared with 2,370 five years ago.

Travis also has plans to scale down the number of dorms on base. The number of enlisted people living in the base's 17 dorms has dropped since the Air Force created a policy allowing any enlisted person with three years in the service to move off base.

As a result, the base plans to tear down five of the oldest dorms, with four to be demolished in 2008, Dupree said.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at ithompson@dailyrepublic.net.

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