NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — Military housing units in Rota are in for a much-needed face lift.

The Navy is spending $7 million to bury electrical lines, install heat pumps, replace all front doors, repave roads and makeover all of the children’s playgrounds, said Robert Crist, Housing deputy director/facility director. Work begins this week and will be completed by September 2004.

The overhaul is one of the largest in years at the joint-use Spanish base, home to about 3,000 U.S. active-duty personnel.

About 800 military personnel and their families live in the Las Palmeras and Las Flores Housing areas on base. Las Palmeras includes two-, three- and four-bedroom homes mostly for officers. The Las Flores units are three- or four-bedroom condominium-like homes for enlisted servicemembers.

The projects include:

Burying electrical lines to improve aesthetics and the reliability of power, especially during storms. The project will cost about $3 million. Work begins this week and is scheduled to be finished in July 2004.Replacing existing furnaces and air-conditioning units with a dual-system heat pump in Las Palmeras. The heat pumps are more energy-efficient, quieter and will replace 50-year-old oil tanks used to heat the homes. The project will begin later this month and will be finished in September 2004.Similar units are planned for Las Flores in 2005, Crist said.

Swapping old wooden front doors with aluminum doors on all units. The new doors will require less maintenance and include keys that can only be copied with a machine on base.Installing a new fire sprinkler system in Las Flores, starting in July. A manufacturer’s recall of the sprinkler heads prompted the replacement.Replacing rubber safety matting underneath six existing playgrounds. The rubber material will be poured below the playgrounds rather than placed in sections. A new park also will be completed in July.Some of the projects will cause some minor inconveniences, Crist said.

Burying the electrical cables will require the contractor to tear parts of the roadway and the yards of some residences. However, the Navy plans on repaving all of the roads in both housing areas.

Some units will be without heat or air conditioning for a brief period when the new heat pumps are being installed. While installing the units might cause some headaches, the pumps are big improvement over the older systems.

About 60 percent of service calls from residents are related to heating problems, Crist said.

“Hopefully, this will cut our maintenance cost a lot,” he said.

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