At 149,210 square feet, the Joint Base Charleston Visiting Quarters will be the largest building the Charleston District has ever constructed for a military customer.
Since 2011, the District has been completing projects at Joint Base Charleston ranging from janitorial services to dock cap replacements to building renovations. JBC facilities support more than 90,000 servicemen and women and civilians, as well as their dependents. The 24,000 acre base not only has full-time permanent personnel, but also some that come for a short time and need a place to stay. That’s where the Visiting Quarters come in.
Joint Base Charleston is currently using three smaller, older buildings as their VQ. As part of the $59 million project, the District will be demolishing two of those buildings and completing minor renovations to the third. But the majority of the project is the new VQ building, which will have 266 guest rooms and will be four stories tall.
“Essentially, the building has been needed for over 12 years,” said Joe Abell, JBC lodging manager. “We have a requirement for over 350 rooms and we only have 80. It’s a long-term fix for what we need, so we’re excited to get this done.”
The VQ will be used for “priority one guests,” who are personnel coming to JBC on official business, such as meetings, training, and reserve activities. After their need is met, vacant rooms are made available for dependents, retirees, or guests of service members. The stays range from a couple of days to a couple of months.
The new modern guest rooms and furnishings will provide visitors with a comfortable environment during their stay in Charleston. For added convenience and efficiency, the VQ will also have a café, exercise room, laundry facilities, and conference rooms.
All but around $2 million of the funding for this project comes from the Air Force Services Agency, which provides bases around the country with funding for new initiatives and for the successful operation of essential food, fitness, child care, lodging and recreation opportunities for military members and their families.
“Normally, VQ construction is paid for with taxpayer dollars, but because this building has such a guarantee for continuous full occupancy, a waiver was approved to use lodging-generated funds,” said Abell. “A pool of money is generated from each lodging facility around the country, and that money is used to fund each new building.”
The new Joint Base Charleston Visiting Quarters facility is scheduled for completion in December 2020. Previously, the largest building the District had constructed for a military customer was the Quad Dining Facility at Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC, which was “only” 125,000 square feet.