New dorms open at Cannon

U.S. Air Force graphic: Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi

U.S. Air Force graphic: Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi

By Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi
27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

Between preparing paperwork, putting the finishing touches on airmen’s dormitories and keeping rumors at bay, the Dorm Management staff at Cannon Air Force Base had their hands full until the last minute before Jan. 14 — moving day.

Construction on buildings 1265 and 1275, the newest dorms at Cannon, finished two months ahead of schedule, but airmen were eager to get into their new rooms, lining up outside of Dorm Management as early as 7:15 a.m. to receive temporary room keys and finally see the new space for themselves.

“At 7:30, it was like the floodgates opened,” said Master Sgt. Dawn Aubuchon, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron superintendent of unaccompanied housing. “Everyone was here and so excited to get their new room keys.”

Hauling duffel bags, laundry baskets and suitcases, airmen entered their suites to find a full working kitchen, a common relaxation space with television and cable, and in-suite laundry.

“With individual bedrooms leading to private bathrooms and walk-in closets, it’s like a four bedroom apartment,” said Staff Sgt. Tara Sheaib, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron Airman dorm leader.

Through the involvement of the dorm council, Dorm Management made sure airmen’s concerns were heard in decisions about design elements from window blinds to bulk storage. One of the paramount priorities was ensuring that airmen who lived with roommates in single rooms got their own space.

“Because of our unique situation and fast growth rate here at Cannon, there may have been four people sharing one restroom in the old dorms,” said Robert Ferry, 27th Special Operations Civil Engineering Squadron chief of unaccompanied housing. “We’re trying to change that and increase the quality of life for airmen. This building was constructed according to the Air Force standard, called D4A–Dorms for Airmen. It’s the future of dormitories Air Force-wide.”

The new dorms eliminated doubling in building 1245, easing the building’s 121 percent occupancy rate, and alleviated some doubling in building 1159.

“Moving airmen into the new dorms reduced the overall double occupancy at Cannon by 17 percent,” said Ferry. “That’s a big milestone.”

But the biggest improvement in the dorms, according to Ferry, is one that most airmen will never see.

“Moving from a dorm built in 1968 to a brand new modern building, airmen should see less problems with heat, air conditioning and plumbing,” he said. “In addition, the buildings are much more energy efficient, earning a ‘silver’ rating from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.”

Now that 1245 is unoccupied, it is slated to be demolished in early February–the first step in constructing the newest dorms coming to Cannon, which will hold 144 airmen.

Aubuchon credits both Dorm Management and airmen for the smooth transition that residents made into the new building.

“We have an outstanding staff at Dorm Management,” said Aubuchon. “They impress me with their professionalism, flexibility and drive every day. Our airmen have been flexible too.”

Dorm Management is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to address concerns from airmen in Cannon’s dormitories.

“Airmen experiencing any problems in their dormitories should contact Dorm Management as soon as they recognize an issue,” said Sheaib. “We are the first in line for getting things fixed. Airmen can report an issue via phone, email or walking right into the Dorm Management office.”

Airmen interested in sounding off with questions, comments, or concerns have a variety of outlets to make their opinions heard: they can attend a monthly meeting of the Airmen Dorm Council or utilize the suggestion box in the Dorm Management Office.