Picerne transitions into 2nd phase of partnership
Then-Staff Sgt. Vincent Lizama with his wife, Sonya, and children, Sierra, Skylar and Vincent, pose for a Picerne Military Housing photo at their new home.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 21, 2013) -- The partnership between Picerne Military Housing and the Army is entering its eighth year, which means that Picerne will be slowing down construction and focusing on managing existing properties for the remainder of the 42-year alliance.

"The program has two phases, the initial development period, which is the first eight years of the program where the majority of construction takes place and the homes are being addressed, and the second phase is the outer year development period, where we will still construct new homes, but not at the pace as we did before. It is more geared towards keeping up the homes," said Jimmy Scott, Picerne Military Housing program manager.

When Picerne assumed operations in 2006, they took control of 1,513 homes. Of those homes, they have demolished and reconstructed 791 new homes, and this year Picerne will build 25 additional homes, Scott said.

"In our end state, we will have [fewer] homes. We took on 1,513 homes, when we are done there will be 1,476. We have 108 homes left in Munson Heights that will be addressed first in the secondary development period; they will be addressed as new homes," said Scott.

Moving into the outer years, residents will not notice any change other than there will be less construction, according to Scott.

"The commitment that our team has to our Soldiers as far as upgrades, amenities, services, maintenance, that will not change. They will be taken care of just as before," he said.

Major construction that has taken place on the installation during the last eight years includes the construction of three community centers, entirely new communities, roads, basketball courts and playgrounds.

"All of our communities have their own 7,200-sq-foot neighborhood center. Each center includes a workout room, media room, gathering places, club room and a 25-meter, six-lane pool," he said. "Neighborhood centers serve as the heart beat and soul of that community where everybody comes and meets socially. Community centers also serve as a one-stop shop for residents' everyday needs, such as air conditioning filters."

Picerne has constructed entirely new residential areas and neighborhoods over the years, according to the program manager.

"Munson Heights, off of Red Cloud Road, was our very first new development. We constructed 70 new, two-story homes, new roads and new infrastructure. It is a brand new development. We also constructed new homes and infrastructure near Silver Wings Golf Course; there are 13 colonel homes there now," he said.

Though Picerne will slow down, Scott said the more than $1.6 million capital improvement programs will still be running strong.

"We will continue to do capital improvement programs. We couldn't touch every home at one time, so the homes that only received moderate renovations will be the first to be addressed along with the older roads," he said.

Picerne doesn't only take care of homes, but the entire neighborhoods.

"We take care of the surrounding areas such as the sidewalks, landscaping, shared areas, bark parks, roads and the community gardens," he said.

Picerne also tries to take care of the environment, its residents with events and even provides training locations for the Fort Rucker fire and police departments.

"We try to use the demolitions as training opportunities for the Directorate of Public Safety. We provide those homes for training for firefighters so they can simulate a fire and for police to kick in the doors, as well as for searching the house for criminals or survivors. We also let police plant certain things in the homes for canines to train and search out those things," said Scott.

The homes that Picerne has demolished were duplexes, but the company decided to replace them with single-Family homes in order to give each Family a sense of ownership.

"We have a process where we cut the slab of the old duplex homes and recycle the slabs to make two separate single-Family homes. It gives them a since of having their own home instead of being adjoined with another Family," he said, adding that they also have more privacy.

Officials and representatives at Picerne are also concerned with how their construction affects the local community, specifically local contractors, and were determined to keep them in business when the housing market struggled in 2008.

"We were building 150 to 170 homes a year when the market crashed. That alone stood up those subcontractors outside the gate. They all had a place to come to continue their businesses. With the Army, we had an agreement that 70 percent of the work that we performed here would be done by small and local businesses. And to date that percentage is 96 percent," he said.

Page last updated Thu March 21st, 2013 at 00:00