Renovating and Rebuilding Fort Rucker: Part I

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A week ago, one military family became the first to move into a newly-renovated home at Fort Rucker. It’s a major sign of completion for what's slated to be an eight year project on The Post.

For nearly 50-years, Fort Rucker soldiers and their families have been living in the same quarters.

The homes were built and maintained by the federal government in the early 1960's and few changes or updates have been made since.

Fort Rucker Garrison Commander, Colonel Scott Larese says, "The quarters I live in were built in 1961. That's as old as I am. In fact, I was born in '61. So the houses are okay, they've just not kept up with what's outside our gates and our communities."

Congressman Terry Everett, (R) Alabama, said, "Our troops and their families deserve at least the same living quarters as we have out on the civilian side."

So, instead of having the government continue to build and maintain living quarters, Fort Rucker has partnered with Picerne Military Housing, a business with expertise in private sector development.

The company will be building and refurbishing nearly 1500 homes on The Post throughout the course of 50 years.

It's part of an ongoing process bound by what's called the Community Development Management Plan.

Picerne Military Housing Program Director Heath Burleson says, "It's in essence a living, breathing document. That's what makes the partnership so critical at what we do. We're able to change if any of the market conditions change for the needs and wants of the installation."

But what's also unique about this partnership is it's commitment to use community resources when sub-contracting work.

Picerne initially planned to use local small businesses for 70-percent of the project's needs and are already exceeding that number.

"We don't actually own the concrete trucks,” Burleson says. “We don't actually own the framing crews. We go out and sub-contract that work. So it's very, very important that we continually have a strong influx of quality contractors coming into us."

The developers are constantly looking for qualified sub-contractors, who can do anything from plumbing, electric work and even painting.

Congressman Terry Everett says this is a "win-win" situation for military families and taxpayers.

The commercial construction and professional management of these homes will not only keep The Post housing up-to-date, it will also save tax dollars.

The partnership is part of the Army's on-going Residential Communities Initiative, which is helping to build quality homes for military families.

More than $150 million dollars will be spent on Fort Rucker housing projects throughout the 50-year partnership.

In part two of Erika's Series, Rucker Renovation, you'll see how the project is reaching out to charities in our community.

Materials from the old homes will be donated and some will also be recycled for the reconstruction phase at Fort Rucker.

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