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Military Housing May Get a Face Lift

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FAYETTEVILLE — Military housing has never been anything to write home about, but there is some good news for Fort Bragg soldiers.

A bill that will bring millions of dollars to Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base is on the President's desk, and a big portion of the money will go toward improving the living quarters of soldiers.

Specialist Nelson Ortiz has lived in 82nd Airborne Barracks for a year and a half. He and a roommate share a small space, and share three showers and bathrooms with 30 other soldiers.

"You just cramp everything up in there," Ortiz said. "You want to have as much room as you possibly can so you can feel more comfortable."

More space is coming. $122 million is headed to Fort Bragg through a Base-Building bill. $47 million of it will be used to replace the 82nd barracks, built in the early 1950's. But project leaders say 47 million is just a start.

"$47 million just covers one phase for the first brigade of the 82nd Airborne," project manager Kathryn Haught said. "We also have five other brigades that are going to need replacement barracks."

The funding to replace the old quarters started in 1994. By 2010, more than $630 million will have been spent to replace the quarters. The new barracks have private bathrooms and a lot more space.

"The older rooms were just substandard compared to this," SPC. Jeffery Lucas said. "This is just immaculate."

Soldiers who lived in both places say they are much more likely to call the apartment-looking barracks home.

The bill also includes $20 million to replace housing for Fort Bragg families, and $30 million for new deployment facilities at Pope Air Force Base.

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Melissa Buscher, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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