GREGG KAKESAKO / GKAKESAKO@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Army will spend $1.7 million over the next three years to renovate the Tripler Army Medical Center's only barracks, seen here Friday.
Tripler barracks to be fixed
The one-year, $1.7 million project will include major air-conditioning upgrades
Within the next 30 months, the Army will spend $1.7 million to repair and upgrade a 102-room barracks at Tripler Army Medical Center.
About 183 soldiers will be affected by the work at the facility known as Building 104 on the Moanalua Army post, according to Alan Goo, assistant director of Schofield Barracks' Directorate of Public Works.
The renovation work will be done in phases and "any relocation of soldiers would be based on work requirements," he said. There are other barracks that can be used, he added, and much of the work will be done when soldiers leave Hawaii for another duty station.
Goo said the electrical renovations and other repairs at Tripler's only barracks, which was constructed in 1948, was not prompted by an incident that occurred in April at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
The Army ordered an inspection of all of its barracks after a father of an 82nd Airborne Division soldier posted a video on YouTube that showed peeling paint, mold and a bathroom plugged with what appeared to be sewage in his son's barracks.
The solder, Sgt. Jeff Frawley, had just returned from a 15-month deployment to Afghanistan.
Following the inspections, held the weekend of April 26-27, the Army announced that it was releasing $248 million, earmarked for other programs, to fix barracks at eight installations including Tripler.
The largest amount, $166.7 million, will be spent at Fort Polk, La. Tripler was second from the bottom with an allotment of $1.7 million; the lowest was Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., with $1.2 million.
Fort Bragg will receive $2.9 million in addition to the $2.6 million officials there have already been spent on the 1950s era barracks used by soldiers assigned to the 508th Parachute Regiment.
Goo said the work that will be done at Tripler was actually scheduled about two years ago. The building will undergo a major air conditioner upgrade and some work to existing expansion joints.
Dave Pawlak, chief of business operations division at Schofield Barracks Directorate of Public Works, said: "When the funds are received, the contract award process begins. It will likely start around 18 months from now, with the job taking approximately one year to complete."
Pawlak said officials from U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii public works department maintain and inspect all the Army buildings and barracks here at least twice a year.
An Army official told the Army Times that most of the barracks identified "have issues with mold and moisture-related problems," and were built in the 1950s and "not built for air conditioning."
Leaking pipes and radiators led to mold problems every year, the Army said.
The Army Corps of Engineers also announced last week that it awarded a $780,632 contract to Pearl City-based Niking Corp. to renovate a Schofield Barracks building to be used as a medical simulation training center. There are 18 similar sites around the world, with 16 at Army installations and two in Iraq.
The Army said the mission of these centers is to standardize military medical training using simulation devices to reduce battlefield fatalities. The sites standardize combat medical skills for nonmedical military personnel and help soldiers train and review lessons learned from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.