Victory Homes to get $33 million rebuild

"The oldest Navy enlisted housing in Oak Harbor appears destined to become some of its newest. Victory Homes, a collection of 198 small houses situated on a knoll above Skagit Valley College, will be demolished and replaced as part of a two-year project."

  • Friday, January 21, 2000 11:00am
  • News

“The oldest Navy enlisted housing in Oak Harbor appears destined to become some of its newest.Victory Homes is a collection of 198, small one-, two- and three-bedroom houses situated on a knoll above Skagit Valley College. They units were built as temporary Navy housing in 1942 for the then-new Whidbey Island Naval Air Station Seaplane Base. The development will be demolished, then replaced with 168 two-, three- and four-bedroom homes as part of a two-year project that could begin as early as this summer. Navy men and women with dependent family, in the E-1 through E-3 pay grades (airman/seaman recruit through airman) are eligible to live there.Overall, about 25 percent, or 1,850 of the air station’s 7,500 active duty force, lives in base housing — apartments, duplexes and single-family homes in nine areas around Oak Harbor.The project, estimated to cost about $33 million, is part of an ongoing effort by NAS Whidbey to improve living quarters for its enlisted and officer corps.The goal of the improvements, said NAS Whidbey Command Master Chief Rick Rose, is to give sailors and officers housing accommodations that are on par with that of civilians.We’re asking sailors to do more with less these days and this is one way that we can help to compensate them, Rose said.The construction of the new homes will be completed in two phases: 102 homes in the first phase, and the remaining 66 homes in the second phase. The contract for the project is scheduled to be awarded to a civilian contractor sometime in July.One of the reasons for the phased project is to not displace the occupants of Victory Homes, Rose said. Houses that are vacated due to sailors transferring to other duty stations will remain vacant. We’ll do this through attrition and try to make it as smooth a transition as possible for the sailors, he said.Generally, Navy men and women transfer every three years, on average. NAS Whidbey provides seven other housing areas in Oak Harbor, according to Betty Jo Shaddy-Brown, acting housing director for the base.Most are dedicated to enlisted men and women, as they comprise about 75 percent of NAS Whidbey’s roster/force.Shaddy-Brown said that Victory Homes were originally built as temporary Navy housing, more than 58 years ago, and are small by contemporary standards.The average home in the development ranges between 546 to 682 square feet.The new houses will range from 950 square feet for a two-bedroom home to 1,350 square feet for a four-bedroom home.The Navy also plans to renovate Capehart Housing on the southern tip of Maylor Point within the next two years, Shady-Brown said.The three- and four-bedroom homes, also known as khaki housing, are available for officers and senior enlisted men and women.With a couple of exceptions, most of NAS Whidbey’s off-base housing dates back to the 1950s and 1960s.Rockhill Terrace is a new complex, consisting of 106, 2-bedroom apartments. And last November, the Navy finished a two-year renovation project at its Saratoga Heights development. Situated just north of Victory Homes, the 286 apartments there received new garages, kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, windows, and siding.Money permitting, improving Whidbey’s off-base housing will be an on-going, five-year project, according to Shaddy-Brown. The Navy has looked at its housing inventory for a long time and tried to determine how to bring it up to standard, she said. We have projects lined up for the next five years if the funding is there.”

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