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European edition, Saturday, September 1, 2007

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey — The latest housing boom in U.S. Air Forces in Europe is coming at the only base in the command where airmen don’t have a choice of living outside the wire.

The Air Force plans to spend about $75 million over the next four years to replace every home it has at Incirlik. Work on the first phase of the Eagle subdivision is well under way, with about 350 workers from a joint venture formed by two Turkish construction firms putting in long hours seven days a week.

“Our goal is to have people occupying the homes by January,” said Maj. Randy Boswell, commander of the 39th Civil Engineer Squadron.

Tom Carneal, the squadron’s deputy director, said the goal is to have 850 new homes by the end of 2011. That’ll actually be about 100 fewer than the base had when the project started. But new four-bedroom facilities are to replace two- or three-bedroom structures — some of which haven’t been used lately because of structural concerns.

Carneal said by the time demolition work started on the 150 homes in the Eagle subdivision in December 2005, only 22 units were being used. The homes had been built in 1961 and had suffered some damage over the years to earthquakes and were just getting old.

Construction is going in multiple phases over the next several years because families still need to live somewhere.

“It’s been quite a juggling act,” Carneal said.

There will be eight different floor plans. Some homes will stand alone. Others will be duplexes. The smallest units will have 2,100 square feet.

“The smallest new unit is larger than (the current) largest one,” said Mark Nedzbala, resident engineer for the Army Corp of Engineers, which supervises the military construction in Turkey.

They’ll also boast new cabinets and appliances, expanded storage space and a lot more 110-voltage outlets. Each unit will have a garage, fenced yard and patio. Small parks, bicycle and walking trails and common green areas are planned for the Eagle, Phantom and Falcon neighborhoods.

Carneal said 17,000 plantings are planned for the Eagle neighborhood alone.

“There’s real significant quality-of-life improvements on this project,” said Okan Nalbant, project engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Not all the homes will be entirely new. Carneal said some in existing neighborhoods will be “totally gutted” and remodeled. Other existing homes will disappear and be replaced by apartments for unaccompanied officers.

Unaccompanied enlisted personnel who live in the dormitories will have to wait a bit longer for new quarters. But plans call for tearing down the current dorms and putting up new ones after the housing boom is completed. Those plans, which would cost more than $50 million, still need congressional approval.

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