Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Kirtland AFB Family Housing

The first order of business for this blog is to give prospective newcomers to Kirtland AFB a personal overview of family housing. Pictured below is the standard floor plan for incoming couples (with no children) whose rank is E-1 through E-4. The floor plan for those with children is very similar - instead of a bulk storage space, that area is extended over the ''patio" area to create a third bedroom upstairs, and a larger living room/dining room downstairs.

My husband and I were stationed at Kirtland AFB for a little over four years before receiving orders moving us to Ramstein AB in Germany. We have (during our time here), been in two different family housing accomodations and bought and sold a house in the Albuquerque area.

The most important thing I or anyone else could possibly tell you about Kirtland Family Housing is to fill out your 24-hour maintenance review sheet as thoroughly as possible. I can not stress this enough - exaggerate everything. The first time my husband and I moved on to base housing, there were small things here and there about the house that we really didn't feel the need to mention. But come move-out time, those who do a final inspection with you after you've had a chance to scrub, spackle and re-paint, will find those small things and charge you for each one. A single crimped blind will cost you $37.00 - good luck if there is more than one (we suggest replacing the blinds yourself). The white calcium build-up under faucet handles will cost you another $25.00 per occurance. Spots in the carpet, depending on the number and severity, can add up quickly. And don't forget to trim back whatever may be growing in your backyard - we were charged $25.00 because knee-high weeds had sprouted after some heavy rains. By far the most expensive items to check upon move-in are the front and back doors as well as the garage door. If these are dented and you fail to mention it on your maintenance review sheet, you will be monetarily responsible for the damage upon move-out.

My largest complaint with the base housing here is that it was constructed by a company that is more used to building on a commercial scale than a residential scale. As such, we have found that things like entryways, cabinets, and closets tend to let in cold air in Winter and let out cool air in the Summer. There was also not a large effort to rid the building sites of such pleasant creatures as mice and a host of insects (namely Black Widow spiders).

That being said, it seems the longer the houses are occupied (the newer housing was completed in 2004/05), the fewer "wildlife" complaints we have. Our heating and cooling bills do not seem to be over par by much considering the areas of poorer insulation. And overall, it is a nice neighborhood setting. If you have the choice to live either on or off base, we suggest on base. The neighborhood just beyond the four main gates of Kirtland is lovingly referred to by those who live in Albuquerque as "The War Zone." It is packed full of nice, cheap apartments that house some of the police department's more active clients, including drug dealers and illegal gun owners, many of whom are gang members. Despite the description above, Albuquerque is a very nice city. I have lived in Albuquerque all my life, and have seen my share of other U.S. cities, and like all cities, we have our beautiful areas and some areas that need work.

Here are some other photos of base housing (Please note that these photos are of a 3 bedroom unit - reserved for members with at least one child):

If you have any other questions, feel free to email me - I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about the city or Kirtland AFB.