MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Bachelor quarters for enlisted Marines have come a long way in not only the past century but decade, from living in quonset huts with wood floors to having recreation centers with movie theater rooms.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held here for the opening of four new bachelor enlisted quarters in the 14 Area, Sept. 12.
The new complex can house more than 1,600 Marines, and it includes a cast-in-place parking structure for 654 vehicles.
The complex was designed with modern green energy solutions including solar voltaic panels on the roofs that are estimated to generate 215 Kilowatts of power and a recycled gray-water system. Both systems are designed to make each of the four barracks 33 percent more efficient than the standard BEQ. The entire project was funded by Congressional funds which amounted to $130 million.
Each complex features many amenities such as a community center with a theater, lounges, café, large laundry facility, vending area, duty desk and duty hut. Outside the community center and surrounding the barracks are many outdoor recreational facilities including, basketball courts, volleyball courts, tennis court, covered barbeque areas, covered pavilions, horseshoe pits and even an amphitheater.
The complex was a joint effort by Hensel Phelps and Soltek Joint Venture construction companies. Before the ground was broken, the construction companies worked together to make the BEQ’s less like typical Marine barracks and have more of a hotel feel, said Pete LeClair, operations manager, Hensel and Phelps Construction Company.
“We even had a hotel architect help design the barracks,” said LeClair.
The rooms were built to be functional but durable in order to take change of occupancy, said LeClair.
We call them best of breed BEQ’s, where we take ideas from Marines and try to incorporate them into the complex, said Brig. Gen. John J. Broadmeadow, commanding general, 1st Marine Logistics Group.
“The new barracks are a complete 180 degree turn from older BEQ’s,” said Staff Sgt. Auer J. Gregory, bachelor enlisted quarters manager, Headquarters and Support Company, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st MLG. “The overall living condition of the Marines will be a whole lot better.”
Many of the junior Marines that are scheduled to move into the barracks described the new BEQ’s as “awesome,” including Lance Cpl. Ryan J. Griffith, data networks specialist, H&S Company, 7th ESB, CLR-1, 1st MLG. Griffith said he was excited and couldn’t wait to move in.
“I think it’s incredible,” said Sgt. James Kallmbah, billeting manager, Headquarters Company, CLR-17, 1st MLG, “It’s something that they definitely deserve and will greatly improve the quality of life for these Marines.”
He added, “I think that the Marines will be happier and therefore, the productivity in the office will be better because they’re happier.”
Broadmeadow also has a vision for the new barracks and the Marines that will move in them.
“My intent is to create a sense of community that reflects our Marine Corps life, but also gives Marines the same sense of community as if they lived in an apartment out in town,” said Broadmeadow. “But now, what I would like is to have the Marines that live in these barracks set the tone for how we create a sense of community that reflects our Marine Corps Values.”