A/C project a first for Misawa
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- More than 400 military family housing units will be the first ever on Misawa to be upgraded with air conditioning, starting this April.
The $14 million project currently under construction will upgrade 204 units in towers 1937, 1938 and 1939, and 212 town homes in the North Base Housing Area with air conditioning in each room. The first units are scheduled to be completed in May 2014.
Col. Stephen Williams, 35th Fighter Wing commander, has made this project one of his top priorities in an initiative to make Misawa an assignment of choice for Airmen.
"This air conditioning project for military homes has been nearly two years in the making," said 2nd Lt. Christopher Meyer, 35th Civil Engineer Squadron officer in charge of project execution.
For many families, especially those with newborns or young children, Misawa's summer heat is a concern. Wing leadership recognizes the need for air conditioning on base, so this project was developed to improve it, Meyer said.
The project is scheduled to be completed by June 2015, so the 35 CES and contractors began construction on several empty homes, or mock units. By retrofitting select units first, 35 CES inspectors could tell the contractor what they liked or wanted changed.
This also allows contractors to become more efficient, so when the job begins in occupied units, procedures to minimize impact to the residences will be implemented.
As contractors work from floor to floor, families living in the towers will move to the newly renovated townhomes. Those who chose not to relocate into the townhomes will have the option to occupy another non-air conditioned tower unit.
While $14 million may seem like a lot of money, it is only with careful planning that the 35 CES was able to purchase all of the air conditioning units needed to complete the project.
Funding for this project was awarded at the end of September 2013, which carried an exchange rate of 82 yen to $1. However, by using money left over from a previous fiscal year, the 35 CES was able to take advantage of a much higher exchange rate of 113 yen to $1. This also allows them to save fiscal year 2013 funds for future use, Meyer noted.
A second air conditioning project for another 208 homes throughout the base is already in the design stage. Depending on the fiscal environment, the 35 CES may be able to award this project at the end of this year. Their ultimate goal is to install air conditioning units in all of the military housing, which the 35 CES hopes will be completed in the next several years.
Quality of life improvement projects are a priority for base leadership, and the 35 CES is constantly making changes, such as covered parking spaces, fencing in yards and now installing air conditioning in housing - all to help make Misawa an assignment of choice.