Years of planning and work on behalf of Army Families paid off July 17 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first new housing area constructed under the post Residential Communities Initiate, the Meadows.

The Meadows consists of 46 duplex-style homes for USAWC students and their families. These three- and four-bedroom, homes average 2,000 - 2,200 square feet, boast 2.5 baths, fully equipped modern kitchens, walk-in closets, den, patio area, and two-car garages. The Meadows also includes a modern playground/courtyard area.

One of the families to move into the new housing is USAWC Class President Col. Jack Pritchard, his wife, Michelle, and sons David and John.

"They really appear to be well constructed and they look great," said Pritchard. "I was in one of these house a few months ago before they were completed and it's amazing to see how far they have come."

His wife, Michele, shared his opinion.

"I think they are fantastic," she said. "We just moved here two days ago and can't wait for our household goods to get here and start unpacking." The Pritchard family was previously stationed in Hawaii and beating the heat was the chief concern of the youngest member of the family.

"They look really nice, and they have central air condition which is great," said 10-year-old John, laughing. "You need that on a day like today."

The Meadows was the first new construction aspect of a plan developed by the RCI and Balfour Beatty Communities. The development plan involves the construction of new neighborhoods, replacement of existing neighborhoods, and the renovation of existing and historic housing.

"We at Balfour Beatty Communities are proud to lead this project in making lives better for families of this important military community," said Ty McPhillips, project director for Balfour Beatty Communities.

The project is about more than just houses.

"Today's ceremony marks a milestone, the delivery of 46 new homes from the Residential Communities Initiative," said Maj. Gen. Robert Williams, commandant of the Army War College.

"It sends a powerful message to Soldiers and their families who do so much for our great country right now. We're transforming the entirety of Carlisle Barracks into a residential community that's fitting for our Soldiers and families who bear so much of a burden today in this very difficult time for our nation."

The initiative partners the Army with Balfour Beatty Communities, using private funding to develop state-of-the-art neighborhoods and housing for Army Families at Carlisle Barracks, according to Ty McPhillips who directed the Balfour Beatty project at Carlisle Barracks. The total cost of the five-year initial development and renovation of historic housing at Carlisle Barracks is approximately $65M.

"Today we celebrate the Army and our private partners' commitment to significantly improve the quality of life for Soldiers and their families at Carlisle Barracks," said Jerry Hanson, Deputy Secretary of the Army for Strategic Infrastructure. "This is truly a fulfillment of our commitment so that Soldiers of today receive the quality of life commensurate with their service. We are putting Carlisle Barracks families first."

"This day proves that RCI model works," said Christopher Williams, Executive Vice President for Balfour Beatty Communities. "We have a great deal of respect for the men and women of the United States military who defend our freedom and liberties throughout the world. Their families at home also make tremendous sacrifices in that effort and that's why we're here today."

As one goes up, one comes down

As the post celebrated the new development, demolition crews were hard at work removing 31 homes in the College Arms area. The homes are along Craig and Sumner Roads.

"In this area of College Arms we'll be demolishing the existing 31 houses and replacing them with 24 new homes, the same as in the Meadows," said McPhillips. The three and four homes were originally constructed in 1950 and 1951 and average 1,200 square feet.

"These houses are being taken down to pave the way for new family housing that is truly commensurate with the level of service of the service members at Carlisle Barracks,' said Lt. Col. Sergio Dickerson, garrison commander.

The project is expected to be completed in mid-2009.