Up to 1,200 soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, will be relocated due to their barracks being unlivable, Army officials said.
A recent inspection found that a dozen Vietnam-era barracks in the Smoke Bomb Hill area of the military installation did not meet heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) standards.
The buildings have suffered from mold issues, largely the result of half-century-old air conditioning, leaders seemingly have known about for years, Military.com reported Friday.
"The relocations will be a deliberate, phased approach," a statement from the service said, Military.com reported. "Army leaders have committed substantial resources to address the barracks issues to ensure our Soldiers are taken care of throughout the process."
The outlet said the Army planned to construct new buildings because the cost of repairing or replacing the air conditioning systems could be exorbitant. There is no timeline for new barracks to be constructed.
Fort Bragg commanders will audit all available space in other barracks for the displaced soldiers to move to. That means some troops might be forced to relocate to areas far from their units.
The barracks inspection was conducted last week by Army Sgt. Maj. Michael Grinston, Military.com said.
Mold and other quality-of-life issues with barracks have been blamed, in part, for soldiers taking desperate actions, such as rushed marriages, to find better living arrangements.
Senior Army leaders also see the issue as a key exacerbating factor for mental health issues among soldiers, Military.com reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that exposure to mold can lead to health ailments, ranging from flu-like symptoms to difficulty breathing and fungal infections.
Fort Campbell in Kentucky is in the process of renovating 17 barracks to improve housing conditions. As with the building at Fort Bragg, the barracks were built in the 1970s through Project Volunteer Army (VOLAR).
Large-scale renovation efforts for the Fort Campbell barracks are moving ahead, and the Directorate of Public Works (DPW) aims to have the first two completed by early next year, Defense Visual Information Distribution Service reported late last month.
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