News Search

Demolition marks first step in housing improvements

Employees of Flores Sierra Contractors Inc. demolish a house on Chanute Drive in the Mesquite Meadows housing area, March 21, 2006. Demolition of the Mesquite Meadows housing units began Feb. 1, and is scheduled to be complete by April 1. Construction of new units in the area is scheduled to begin in April.  (Photo by Christopher Ball)

Employees of Flores Sierra Contractors Inc. demolish a house on Chanute Drive in the Mesquite Meadows housing area, March 21, 2006. Demolition of the Mesquite Meadows housing units began Feb. 1, and is scheduled to be complete by April 1. Construction of new units in the area is scheduled to begin in April. (Photo by Christopher Ball)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Demolition is underway in the Mesquite Meadows housing area, marking the first phase in the Edwards housing reduction and replacement initiative.

So far, 87 families have been moved from the southwest portion of Mesquite Meadows for demolition, and six have been moved from the southeast quarter in preparation for the next phase, said Jeanette White, Edwards' housing coordinator.

The families moved have been relocated to the Mountain View and Joshua Acres housing areas.

The housing plan is right on schedule and progressing nicely, said Ken Crawford, the housing military construction project manager with the 95th Civil Engineer and Transportation Directorate.

The demolition of 117 units in the southwest area of Mesquite Meadows began Feb. 1, Mr. Crawford said. "The demolition will be completed by April 1 to allow the earthwork to begin for the construction of 55 junior enlisted units, to be completed in February 2007."

In the southeast corner, demolition is planned to run from April 1 to June 1.

At the beginning of the project, Edwards had 861 houses that were considered inadequate. These homes are scheduled to be demolished and replaced with 292 new homes. This is in addition to the 505 newer homes Edwards already has that are considered adequate.

"The next phase is the demolition of 99 junior enlisted units in Tamarisk Plains to allow construction of 36 senior NCO, six chief master sergeant and 25 field grade officer homes in west Tamarisk Plains, and 50 company grade officer units in east Tamarisk plains," Mr. Crawford said.

The construction of these homes is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2007 or early 2008.

"We're following Department of Defense directives to rely on our local communities for as much housing as possible," said Col. Drew Jeter, 95th Air Base Wing Commander.

While some families will be somewhat inconvenienced by having to move to other locations, Colonel Jeter said Edwards is doing everything possible to make this project as easy as possible for everyone involved.

"Any directed move will be paid for by the Air Force," Colonel Jeter said. "Families may also choose a 'do-it-yourself move,' and they will still be reimbursed.

"While the end result will be fewer homes on Edwards, this is the first step toward updating our on-base neighborhoods and furnishing Edwards residents with all the modern housing amenities," he said.

The goal, based on a Housing Requirements and Market Analysis Team evaluation, is to reduce on-base housing to 797 houses by 2008 and eliminate all inadequate housing by 2007.

While a previous assessment by the HRMA team in 2003 determined the number of authorized units to be 1,123 homes, Edwards' recent High-Performing Organization initiative will convert more than 900 military positions to about 450 civilian jobs, lending to a reduction in military housing by an additional 326 units.