Navy working to make Sasebo renovations easy on residents
The Navy said Wednesday it will try to keep to its five-year schedule for renovating 328 housing units at the Sasebo Naval Base — one of the base’s largest and most complex renovations ever.
Base commander Capt. Tilghman Payne met with residents — many with children in tow — at the Hario housing complex, and said plans are preliminary and could change.
The base is trying to coordinate with residents as they transfer to another duty station or move off base to make the process of upgrading the aging buildings as smooth as possible, base officials said.
Residents will be notified at least 90 days in advance of a move.
“The ultimate goal is to get renovated housing for everyone,” Payne said. “There are going to be some people who will be inconvenienced.”
The schedule shows construction on the main base and at the Hario housing will begin around March 2009 and wrap up in early 2013.
The project could mean a move for some families, although many buildings will be renovated as residents transfer, Sasebo housing director Gail Benton said.
As those units are completed, new Sasebo residents will be moved in, she said.
The base will be working with families to select which option could work best for them, Benton said, whether it’s moving off base or moving to a unit that’s scheduled for renovation at a later date.
In Hario, 216 town houses and Sakura Tower will be redone. The 44-unit Dragon Crest on the main base will be replaced with 60-unit high-rises, according to Benton.
Hillary Heiselt and her active-duty husband live in Hario’s Sakura Tower, the only one of five towers at the housing complex scheduled for renovation. Plans call for the 68 units to be emptied over the next two to three years.
The couple is scheduled to transfer in January 2010, so it is unclear how they will be affected. But Heiselt said her main concern is getting advance notice if asked to move.
The renovation is “badly needed,” and though she won’t be there to enjoy the new furnishings, “it’ll be nice for the other families,” Heiselt said.
Town houses and apartments will be gutted and new kitchens, floors, plumbing and wiring will be installed. Many are aging and have never been refurbished.
However, Benton said, residents shouldn’t expect too much of a change during the project.
“I am going to try to move people from like unit to like unit,” Benton said.
The base housing office would not disclose the cost of the project.