Fort Detrick’s outgoing garrison commander and the housing company Balfour Beatty continue to address concerns raised by those who live on post, following nationwide mandates to improve housing on military installations.
Housing on military posts nationwide came under scrutiny in February when a Senate Armed Services subcommittee held a hearing on dangerous and substandard living conditions. Although housing at Fort Detrick was not specifically mentioned, Balfour Beatty, which operates the privatized housing at Fort Detrick, was also under scrutiny for its management at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.
The subcommittee specifically called out Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County for complaints residents had about mold, lead paint and rat infestation.
As a result of the hearing, all posts were required to investigate housing conditions. Fort Detrick and Balfour Beatty spent the past four months working to improve the conditions on the Army installation, said Col. Scott Halter, outgoing garrison commander.
Halter and command staff have held four town hall meetings about housing, he said. Common issues included plumbing and interior repairs, as well as appliances.
In addition, Halter has mandated new tests, including examining houses once they are vacated, and follow-ups on finished work. Balfour Beatty and the command staff also increased communication about work orders, including a hotline.
“We obviously haven’t fixed everything,” Halter said. “We know there is more to be done.”
One of the issues facing the post is aging infrastructure. Halter requested funding to help address housing concerns there, he said.
The role of the command staff is to take care of the people on post, Halter said.
“We found certainly a number of issues, and we’ve been able to resolve several of them,” he said. “There’s still much work, more work to be done to get it to perfection, which might be too hard to achieve, but I think we can strive for that, strive for that high goal of satisfying all of our tenants to make sure that they absolutely have what they deserve in terms of safe and quality homes.”