Fort Bragg plans to remedy moldy barracks by demolishing buildings
FORT BRAGG – The barracks from which 1,200 Fort Bragg troops are being moved due to mold, outdated ventilation systems and aging buildings will be demolished, a Fort Bragg spokesperson said.
Officials announced the move on Thursday and said it followed an inspection of housing near Smoke Bomb Hill, where officials found inadequate heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Responding to questions Friday from The Fayetteville Observer, Fort Bragg’s statement said “the priority is to move soldiers to other barrack rooms within the installation.”
The statement said mold was reported in the barracks which were built in the mid-1970s.
“Continued repairs and airflow modifications have created higher than normal humidity levels and quality of life issues,” the statement said. “Army and Installation Chiefs have inspected the living conditions in these barracks and (are taking) action to ensure the safety and quality of life of our soldiers.”
Related:More than 1,200 soldiers from Fort Bragg must be moved due to barracks conditions
Previous cover:Senator Thom Tillis urges senior Army officials to address conditions at Fort Bragg barracks
According to Fort Bragg’s press release, a preliminary assessment found that 10 to 12 of the barracks, which were built in the 1970s, “do not meet today’s HVAC standards.”
In the past six months, no soldiers have been moved from the barracks near Smoke Bomb Hill, and none have reported health or breathing issues related to living in the buildings, the statement said.
“There is a medical expert available if soldiers have mold-related concerns or questions,” the statement said. “Soldiers with medical conditions are encouraged (to) seek medical assistance and notify their chain of command.”
Military.com first reported that Sgt. Army Maj. Michael Grinston was part of the inspection ‘which didn’t go well’ and in late July and which Grinston ‘challenged local leaders’ for the condition of the barracks which was riddled with problems mold, and one room had a hole in the wall with exposed pipes.
The statement said that following inspections and assessments, some barracks at Fort Bragg will be renovated and the majority of the Smoke Bomb Hill area which is over 50 years old will be demolished.
Past issues with the barracks
The latest decision is not the first time concerns have been raised about barracks or that soldiers have been moved.
In December, US Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina wrote a letter to Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth after a Fort Bragg soldier contacted her office about mold in the barracks.
“It has come to my attention that many unsupported housing facilities in Fort Bragg, NC are experiencing issues due to mold and outdated infrastructure,” Tillis wrote.
Unaccompanied housing structures are living quarters, usually called barracks, for single soldiers.
In Tillis’ letter to Wormuth, he wrote that in October 2020, approximately 200 soldiers from the 1st Special Forces Command’s 528th Special Operations Support Brigade were temporarily relocated after heating, ventilation and Faulty air conditioning caused damp and mold in two buildings of the barracks.
In a previous statement to The Fayetteville Observer, Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, who was then commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, said mold was found in two barracks buildings in early January 2021, but the mold was immediately processed.
“We take these types of issues very seriously and constantly inspect our paratrooper barracks to ensure they are maintained to the high standards they deserve, just as we did after the historic deployment of 1st Brigade in Afghanistan in August (2021),” Donahue previously said.
Fort Bragg Barracks Repair Projects
In Tillis’ letter to Wormuth, he said that as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he will work to ensure the military is efficient in receiving funds to upgrade and replace substandard barracks. 2030.
In a virtual town hall meeting in October 2020, Grinston announced that the Army plans to invest $9.5 billion to upgrade barracks in fiscal year 2030.
After:More than 200 Fort Bragg soldiers moved out after mold was found in barracks
Former Fort Bragg garrison commander Col. Scott Pence said 24 of Fort Bragg’s oldest barracks were being renovated or scheduled for renovations this year.
The Fort Bragg spokesman said the average age of Fort Bragg barracks is about 28 years old and there are 12 projects being renovated, which typically take about two years or more.
Eight other barracks will begin renovations at the end of December.
The Fort Bragg statement says Soldiers are encouraged to use existing reporting systems to request maintenance of their quarters and to provide candid feedback to installation leaders.
The Army Maintenance app allows soldiers to report work orders for facility, barracks, road and field repairs, which can be done online at armymaintenance.com.
Writer Rachael Riley can be reached at [email protected] or 910-486-3528.