By James Brabenec, Fort SillJanuary 19, 2012
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Fort Sill officially opened the first section of the 432-home Buffalo Soldier Acres neighborhood with a ribbon cutting ceremony Jan. 11 here.
1st Sgt. Kevin Moreland and his family happily moved into one of the four-bedroom homes after a four-month wait to get post housing.
"It's great to live on post now and this is the first new house our family has ever lived in we love it," said Moreland, first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 168th Brigade Support Battalion. "I take care of Soldiers so it's much easier for me to check barracks and attend unit off-duty functions, such as battalion sports."
Maj. Gen. David Halverson led the ribbon cutting assisted by Tim Touhey, Picerne Military Housing program director, along with Moreland and his two children Brittani and Brandin.
"Today is a special day to see the great houses we've provided for our Soldiers and their families," said Halverson, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill commanding general. "This is a commitment from our civilian leadership, our industry partners and the Army to move forward with quality housing for Soldiers."
Halverson added the new housing, along with nearly 900 existing home renovations, will benefit many Soldiers while at the same time maintaining a balance with local communities to meet the housing requirements for Soldiers and their families.
Touhey expressed his pride in his team for delivering the first homes to the Army about 30 days ahead of schedule. He added a neighborhood center will be built and feature a workout area, a media center and other amenities within its several thousand square feet of area. Plans also call for a full size swimming pool that will further enhance each neighborhood.
Col. Paul Hossenlopp, Fort Sill Garrison commander, said when he accepted the garrison command much of the advanced planning and hard work was already completed that led up to this day. Instead of working out additional details, he got to welcome some of the 12 families who are already living in the neighborhood. Others will take up residence in the days and weeks to come.
"I get to enjoy seeing these fine houses being built and the joy of these families who get to move in," he said.
While a lot of work remains to complete the extensive project, Hossenlopp believes the schedule and construction will stay on track throughout.
"Picerne is a fantastic partner, and I'm confident this project will continue on pace to meet the needs of our Soldiers," he said.
The recently opened houses are being filled by E6-8 Soldiers, all of whom were on waiting lists to get post housing. Hossenlopp said families already living on post will remain in their houses and not transfer to the new housing areas.
"Even in a time when all the military is experiencing a new fiscal reality this partnership with a private company can still fund great projects and take care of our Soldiers and families in a manner commensurate with their outstanding service," said Hossenlopp.
Touhey said the houses include modern appliances and energy efficient systems that will continue to benefit the Army regardless of economic conditions.
Not only are the homes well appointed in terms of space and efficiency, but each has a safe room to help families ride out severe weather. Moreland realized after looking at it that it was big enough for his family and additional people should they have visitors or neighbors over.
Best of all, perhaps, Moreland finally gets to enjoy having a garage in military family housing knowing his wife's car will be out of the elements.