Tuesday, September 13, 2011
A new $130-million barracks building opens for unmarried Marines on Camp Pendleton this month. It will radically improve the standard of living for hundreds of marines.
Forget the old image of barracks with 40 bunks to a room, no air conditioning and a tiny storage locker at the foot of each bed. The latest Marine Corps barracks opening on Camp Pendleton are a far cry from the last generation of barracks, built in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Eight hundred unmarried Marines will soon move into a $130-million complex with as many amenities as a four star hotel.
Colonel James Clerk cut the ribbon on the new housing on base. He said his Sergeant Major, who’s been in the Marine Corps for 27 years, said "If they’d had barracks like this 20 years ago, I’d have never gotten married."
Each double room has its own microwave, fridge, private bath and walk-in closet. The communal areas include a theater, a 60-inch plasma, high definition TV in the laundry room, a fireplace and a games area. Marines exploring the bedrooms said they don’t even have air conditioning in their current barracks. Some of them were amazed at the amount of storage.
“How does a Marine have so much stuff?” one asked, opening up the bed to reveal a big storage space below.
There are also basketball and volleyball courts, running trails and space for barbecues outside
Colonel Clerk said there are so many amenities that young, single marines may choose to stay in their barracks during their down time, rather than venture off base.
The barracks are LEAD Gold certified, with 215 kilowatts of solar panels. John Tseu, project manager with Hansel Phelps, the contractor, said the four barracks buildings have 18,000 square feet of solar panels on the roof to generate 6 percent of the energy used in the complex.
“And all the buildings are plumbed to be able to use recycled water in the toilets, as well as for the landscaping," he said. Tseu said the company put in purple pipes to bring the recycled water from the base’s recycling plant to the area.
The project created about 350 jobs.
Hensel Phelps partnered with a San Diego based company, Soltek, to construct the barracks and the communal areas, plus a multi-story car park, one of few on base.
The project is the latest in a multi-billion dollar upgrade to service members’ living quarters thoughout the San Diego region.