Army won't build new home for DCINC
STUTTGART, Germany — The U.S. Army has dropped a plan to build a $1 million home on Patch Barracks for the U.S. European Command deputy commander.
Instead, the agency that handles military facilities in Europe will work to get the money that engineers say is needed for upkeep and other repairs.
U.S. Army-Europe had hoped Congress would budget the money for the construction project, while EUCOM officials wanted the deputy commander to remain in the historic home that sits on the hills of Stuttgart.
Lawmakers did not include the funding in the current federal budget.
The roughly 11,000-square-foot house, built in 1927, is ideal for entertaining visiting dignitaries, but due to its age has expensive upkeep problems.
Now the Installation Management Agency-Europe — which last year took over handling military facilities for the Army in Europe — has abandoned the plan to build a house and instead will concentrate on ongoing repairs and hopes to receive money for more in-depth renovations by fiscal year 2005, at the earliest.
IMA-Europe will spend $35,000 in fiscal year 2003 and again in fiscal year 2004 on “low-cost, high-impact maintenance and repair requirements,” Army Col. Al Rasper, IMA-Europe engineer, said in an e-mail in response.
The current EUCOM deputy commander, Air Force Gen. Charles F. Wald, is “currently assessing priorities,” Rasper said.
The total cost and types of repairs will be developed over the coming months, he said, but preliminary estimates indicate that the fiscal year 2005 and beyond expenses “will be significant.”
Rasper said the home needs its utility system, bathrooms and kitchen modernized; the paved surfaces and a retaining wall repaired or replaced; and the roof repaired.
The Stuttgart mansion is surrounded by outdoor terraces, which are used for dinners and cocktail parties. It has a large dining room for entertaining, a large guest suite for visiting dignitaries and rooms for their support staff.
The house has 11,000-square-feet of space but not all of that is usable.
Despite the size of the house, it actually is quite ordinary in interior appearance. For example, the kitchen is stocked with the same ranges and refrigerators that are issued to other servicemembers for their apartments and houses.
One argument EUCOM has used in keeping the current facility is that a major role of the deputy commander is to host dinners for local and visiting officials and dignitaries. In the first half of 2002, for example, the house hosted about 80 overnight visits of U.S. ambassadors, foreign chiefs of defense and senior leaders from throughout EUCOM’s area of responsibility.
During the same time, the house was used for between 80 and 100 daytime or evening events that did not include overnight stays. The property has been used to host picnics, formal receptions and more casual events, such as stand-up buffets.
The building proposed for Patch Barracks would have had 5,302 square feet, according to USAREUR, which is about half the size of the existing mansion.
A $20,000 study was conducted last year to examine the benefits between keeping the current house and building a new facility, but that report has not been made public.