Affordable housing and childcare are among challenges faced by Space Force in Colorado Springs

Space Base Delta 1 Cmdr., Col. David Hanson delivers the annual “State of the Bases” event at Peterson Space Force Base on March 8th, 2024.
Dan Boyce/CPR News
Space Base Delta 1 Cmdr., Col. David Hanson delivers the annual “State of the Bases” event at Peterson Space Force Base on March 8th, 2024.

A lack of work space, not enough childcare facilities and scarce affordable housing are some of the challenges facing the Space Force bases in Colorado Springs.

In a State of the Bases address held at Peterson Space Force Base Friday, Col. David Hanson, provided updates about Peterson and nearby Schriever Space Force Base.

The two bases have an increasingly important significance for the U.S. military. Under Hanson’s command, Space Base Delta 1, which is a unit similar to an Army brigade, supports missions at Peterson, Schriever and five other locations around the world. 

On the facilities front, the bases have been working to secure funding for additional work space, though that funding hasn’t come in time to accommodate the increasing population on the bases. Some airmen and guardians continue to work in leased office space off base. 

To reduce a list of 450 children waiting to get into on-base childcare, the bases launched a first-of-its-kind pilot project to contract childcare providers in the community. That waiting list has now been cut by more than half.

“Not only are we the only ones in the Department of Defense that are doing it, but every single week we are placing more children in those facilities,” Hanson said.

Schriever broke ground last August on an expansion to triple the size of the current gym facility, which Hanson noted was the largest Space Force construction project in the branch’s 2022 fiscal year. That project is expected to open in late 2025 and is currently about 15 percent complete.

“That sounds like a very small number,” Hanson said in an interview with reporters after the address. “However, there's been some great strides by the construction company up there putting it together and it looks different every single day.”

Housing affordability issues are hitting the service as well, a refrain echoed by many other sectors of the Colorado economy. Hanson said “affordable” was the key word, as the Pikes Peak Region is not short on housing options generally. 

“Our junior enlisted members don’t get a huge paycheck, but they do great work for us and a lot of them are bringing in families and spouses and children,” he said. “Finding affordable housing in a good neighborhood near good schools is very important to us.”

The availability of affordable housing was a key factor in the defense department’s choice of Huntsville, AL as the preferred home for the U.S. Space Command. But last summer, the Biden Administration announced the command would stay in Colorado Springs, out of readiness and national security concerns.