ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Rock Island Arsenal hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 71 military houses, March 24.

Col. Kenneth Tauke, commander, RIA Garrison, announced during the ceremony that two housing construction projects will begin this year on the Arsenal. The projects include building new residences --41 single family homes and 30 duplex units.

"It's not just 71 houses that we are going to be building, it's 71 military homes for military Soldiers," Tauke said. "RIA is going to be a community once again as we move forward."

The houses will be located on Rodman Avenue and between Quarters 1 and the Colonel Davenport House. The housing areas will include features, such as bus stops, playgrounds, basketball courts, and a running path.

The Louisville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed the projects. Lt. Col. Robert Newbauer, deputy commander of the Louisville District, said that the buildings will be built resource-efficient with appliances that use less water and energy.

"[RIA] houses the Army's most valuable most precious resources, its Soldiers and their families," Newbauer said. "These Army family housing units will provide a better quality of life for the personnel assigned here."

Maj. Gen. Edward Daly, senior commander at Rock Island Arsenal, said that the new quarters are something to be proud of because of modernized features and community amenities.

"This pivotal moment in RIA history is demonstration of the commitment from the nation, the Army, and the surrounding communities to provide a high standard of living for those who serve on the Arsenal," Daly said.

The duplex homes built along Rodman Avenue will include two- and four-bedroom units ranging in size from 1,630 to 2,150 square feet. The single family units will have three or four bedrooms and range from 2,020 to 2,520 square feet.

"The building [of new residencies] and the removal of the aging ones really are symbolic gesture that we are committed to providing better quality for people in uniform and their families," Daly said.

Newbauer said the construction will be complete by May 2018.