News: Home sweet home: Air station unveils new living quarters for single Marines
Story by Cpl. Tyler J. Bolken
Home is meant to be comfortable, calming and a sanctuary of sorts for one’s own space, but many Marines have trouble grasping their place of duty as their home.
To help change that, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point unveiled two new bachelor enlisted quarters during an official ribbon-cutting ceremony March 25.
After 16-months in the making, the new BEQs are the first new quarters aboard the air station in more than 20 years, and MCAS Cherry Point Commanding Officer Col. Philip J. Zimmerman said, “The standard for the new quarters was set with the Marines’ interest at hand.”
The standard of the two four-story towers feature modern appeal with design elements and color accents that give the quarters a homey feel – a far cry from the air station’s current barracks that some Marines dub “the bricks.”
Additionally, each building features a large, contemporary-styled lounge area with three 55” flat-screen TVs, a slate pool table, wireless internet and an eating area with a conventional oven and full-sized fridge. Next door to the lounge area of each building is a large laundry facility with high-efficiency washers.
“We wanted to get a kind of ambience and feel that could close the gap between single Marines’ living quarters and base housing,” explained Skip Conklin, the station facilities director. “Living quarters are a big part of morale.”
Conklin added that the buildings also cost less to operate and maintain and are energy and water efficient.
Upon completion of the certification process, the quarters will be “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver” certified, which is an internationally recognized green building certification system, otherwise known as LEED.
Brig. Gen. Robert R. Ruark, the director of facilities for the Marine Corps, visited the new digs a few days earlier and approved of the upgrades.
“It feels very open and friendly,” Ruark explained. “I really like the architecture and built -in amenities.”
Each room is outfitted for a maximum of two occupants and feature individual walk-in closets, kitchenettes with a sink, fridge, freezer and microwave, and a private bathroom for the room’s two tenants only.
Some of the new building’s future tenants were on hand for the morning ceremony and got to see the building for the first time.
“This place makes me excited to be able to show off where I live,” said Sgt. Joyce Ramirez, warehouse clerk with Marine Aircraft Group 14 personnel support detachment.
“We wanted Marines to have a place they’d be proud to show their mom and dad,” Conklin explained.
Like Ramirez, most of the Marines in the new BEQs will be of MAG-14, and they began moving in this week. The squadrons of MAG-14 were chosen to live in the new BEQs because of their transient nature, said Zimmerman.
“This is the ultimate way to reward these Marines,” said Sgt. Maj. Timothy King, MAG-14 sergeant major. “The only regret is we wish we could have this for all the Marines on the air station.”