By Karl Weisel
Installation Management Command
WIESBADEN, Germany - When the $12 million Whole Neighborhood Revitalization project in Wiesbaden's Aukamm Housing wraps up early next year, 84 "right-sized" apartment units will be available to incoming families. Quality-of-life enhancements include new kitchens, flooring, appliances, various other features and expansion to meet the Army standard for space allocation to military families.
The first of the 12 buildings renovated in the Army Corps of Engineers project underwent a final inspection in mid-November, said Donald Meyer, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's housing manager. After a few minor corrections are fixed, the building should be ready for new residents by the first or second week of December with all of the buildings slated to be completed by the end of March 2014.
"Planning for the project started more than two years ago," said Meyer, with it being approved in fiscal year 2012.
"This Whole Neighborhood Revitalization project is part of the housing master plan to get all of our housing assets up to the Army standard," he said, explaining that the end result is "a better quality of life for residents and more security."
Besides interior upgrades within the individual units -- taking 12 apartments, knocking out or building new walls to create nine larger units in each building -- the buildings are undergoing a host of other construction work to greatly upgrade each building. These include new insulation and fresh paint, renovated balconies, better lighting, laundry facilities in each apartment and separate dining and living areas in many apartments.
Design plans also called for better energy use, he said, including energy-efficient bulbs (same wattage, less energy consumption) and more energy- and resource-efficient appliances.
"Another enhancement is in the basement storage areas. We took out the wire mesh walls and windows and put in floor-to-ceiling metal doors," Meyer said.
"Some of these buildings will be smoke and pet free," he added, for those residents suffering from allergies or who would prefer to live in a building without smokers or pets. Housing officials will closely monitor demand to see if more or fewer buildings should be designated smoker- and pet-free.
"Residents will sign a waiver when they move in," the housing chief said. If they decide their status has changed while living in a smoker- or pet-free apartment than they will be welcome to move, he said, "but they will have to pay for their move."
Future planning calls for similar projects in Crestview and Hainerberg Housing.
"We'll sit down with the Transformation and Stationing Management Office and Army Family Housing representatives to figure out what our total need is based on the demographics and number of people living in the Wiesbaden area. We've reached our peak as far as housing (demand) is concerned. … We'll stay at this level for a while and will try to raise the remaining units up to the Army standard," he said, explaining that the goal is to further transform the Wiesbaden military community to offer a quality of life commensurate with the service provided by military members and their families under the Army Family Covenant.