Fort Carson celebrates 10 years of privatized housing
December 4, 2009
- Fort Carson celebrates 10 years of privatized housing
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Fort Carson, family housing and community leaders gathered on the Mountain Post Nov. 17 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of privatized housing.
Following their remarks, Installation Management Command, garrison and housing management officials joined the current residents to unveil a plaque on the exterior of the first home built under privatization.
"I can tell you in the last 10 years there have been major improvements in taking care of Soldiers and families," said Curtis Savoy, program manager, office of the chief of staff for installation management.
"The government has approximately $2.6 billion in commitment to the project, and we have over $12 billion worth of development," Savoy said. "That's a great return on the investment."
Congress authorized the privatization of military housing Feb. 10, 1996, said Doug Lobdell, project director, Fort Carson Family Housing, Balfour Beatty Communities.
He said the Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District awarded the first family housing privatization project to JA Jones for Fort Carson family housing Sept. 30, 1999.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Oct. 31, 2000, at the first constructed privatized housing unit in Fort Carson's Comanche Village, now home to Sgt. Chris Balcom, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and his wife, Melissa. The Mountain Post privatized housing changed hands to GMH Communities Trust in 2004 and again in 2008 to Balfour Beatty Communities.
Col. Robert F. McLaughlin, garrison commander, commended Balfour Beatty Communities staff saying they are partners who do a great job supporting the Soldiers and their families.
"What I see in everybody's face is a passion for serving those who have committed so much to this nation," he said.
As the garrison commander, McLaughlin noted he has two areas of concern.
The first, he said, is supporting Soldiers through their deployment cycle to make sure they are taken care of. The second is alleviating as much stress as possible from the families.
"I thank all of you for everything you do on behalf of Soldiers and families," McLaughlin said.
Diana Kinlaw, regional project manager, said Balfour Beatty Communities focuses on providing quality homes for military families and takes pride in establishing and maintaining a team approach to improve the quality of life for its residents.
She commended the Army team, the local Balfour Beatty team, the general contractors and neighborhood mayors who continue to contribute to the partnership and strive to make Fort Carson family housing a model for the Army and privatized housing.
"We salute the entire team for their contribution in making privatized housing a success for the past 10 years and look forward to many more years of successful partnership."
When current construction ends, projected for March, Balfour Beatty will manage 3,060 family housing units on Fort Carson, Lobdell said.
During the initial phase from 1999-2004, Lobdell said 841 new homes were constructed on Fort Carson, and 1,823 other family housing units were fully renovated. The second phase of construction, 2006-2010, paved the way for 404 new homes and, under the Grow the Army plan, 308 more units will be added at Fort Carson by 2012.
Lobdell noted the property is managed through a limited liability company partnership between Balfour Beatty and the Army. He said this team arrangement capitalizes on the strengths of private sector in housing construction and management.
"This saves significant money over (the duration of the) contract," which Lobdell said benefits residents with better homes and maintenance.
Fort Carson has been a privatized housing model for the rest of the Department of Defense, providing significant improvement over pre-privatization quality of life, he said.
To date 95 housing projects have been awarded across the DoD for a total of 187,903 homes, Lobdell said. Balfour Beatty currently manages properties at 43 Army, Navy and Air Force locations.