'Dorm 4-Airmen' provides better quality of life for residents, environment

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brigitte Brantley
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs
Regardless of whether Airmen work eight or 12 hours a day, they can always look forward to relaxing at "home."

Now, the 120 Airmen soon to occupy the recently finished "Dorm 4-Airmen" can relax in style.

With a suite-style layout, the nearly $16 million building funded by the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission will improve the quality of life for a portion of Moody's unaccompanied Airmen when they are not on duty.

"When I joined the Air Force, the dorm setup was completely different but fortunately, the Airmen in the new dorm are afforded much more comfort and personal space," said Tech. Sgt. Alan Fraher, 23rd Civil Engineer Squadron Airman dormitory leader. "I had to share my room with somebody else and bathroom with three other people."

Each Airman gets his or her own room, which has a walk-in closet and a private bathroom. All four suitemates share a common area furnished with couches, a TV and a complete dining area.

"Providing a quality place to live is essential because of the amount of time Airmen spend in their rooms," said Col. William DeMaso, 23rd Wing vice commander. "Sleeping will comprise approximately a third of their Moody career, so it's beneficial to have a comfortable place for them to go."

Airmen are further able to enjoy the comfort because of the unit cohesion factor -- their suitemates are most likely to be others from their unit.

"The new dorm is definitely an upgrade from the previous dorm I resided in," said Airman 1st Class Joshua Green, 23rd WG Public Affairs photographer. "Now that we have other people living with us, it brings the 'wingman concept' more into play because we can't just worry about ourselves. We should ensure our roommates are taken care of as well."

In addition to a number of Moody Airmen benefiting from this quality-of-life facility, these types of projects are also important because of their potential recruiting benefits.

"We are known amongst our sister services for having the highest quality of life," Colonel DeMaso said. "This is something we try to emphasize because by having some of the best facilities and opportunities, the Air Force attracts the best individuals."

Along with providing a higher quality of life to the Airmen, the new dormitory was built with the environment in mind because it meets the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design requirements.

"Being LEED-certified means a lot because it lets American citizens know that the military is making the best use possible of our resources and money," said Brian Doak, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project engineer.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council Web site, a LEED certification mean the dormitory was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance in the areas that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

"We knew before we even started building that we wanted it to be LEED-certified," Mr. Doak said. "Because of the stringent standards, we had to start construction with them in mind.

"For example, to maintain this accreditation, residents cannot smoke in their rooms," he added. "This also meant that workers couldn't even smoke during construction because smoke has the ability to permeate into the walls and residents years later may be able to still smell that."

Two more important parts of the project are both what the infrastructure is made from (autoclaved aerated concrete, also known as AAC) and additional features on the campus-type setting.

"The AAC enhances the geothermal and heating, ventilation and air conditioning abilities of the building's design as well as provides a fire-resistant building," Mr. Doak said. "All the features of the dorms and ongoing quality of life projects will result in what is called the 'quad concept,' with the dorm being the main focus of where these Airmen work, play and live."

Ongoing quality-of-life projects here that will affect both single and married Airmen include community activity centers, an expanded bowling alley and renovations to the existing dorms.

As a result of moving into the new dorms, the Airmen from the 23rd Wing, 347th Rescue Group, 23rd Fighter Group, 23rd Mission Support Group and 23rd Component Maintenance Squadron will live closer to where they work.