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Army allocates $9.8 million to replace 43 homes at Fort Leonard Wood
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (March 18, 2010) — Congressman Ike Skelton announced Thursday that Army officials have decided to allocate $9.8 million to replace 43 homes in the Piney Hills neighborhood of Fort Leonard Wood.

Post spokesmen said they also learned about the funding decision on Thursday and didn’t yet have any details on the new housing plans beyond what Skelton has announced.

“I am so pleased that the Army plans to invest $9.8 million to build 43 new homes at Fort Leonard Wood,” Skelton said in a prepared statement. “Housing is a quality of life issue for our soldiers and their families. These new homes will help Fort Leonard Wood keep its place as one of America’s premier military installations.”

Built at a cost of nearly $228,000 per home, funds for the new housing will come from the Department of Defense’s Military Housing Privatization Initiative. While post spokesmen could not immediately confirm that the funds will be administered by Balfour Beatty Communities, that’s the company which has been awarded a contract to privatize Fort Leonard Wood on-post housing which was originally built by and maintained by the military.

Under the privatization program, most but not all on-post housing at Fort Leonard Wood has been turned over to Balfour Beatty Communities, a privately run company which is steadily refurbishing or replacing the existing on-post housing, much of which until a few years ago dated back to the Vietnam War era or even earlier.

Most funds to replace, refurbish and maintain the housing units come from the servicemembers’ BAH or Basic Allowance for Housing that they would have received if they had chosen to live off post rather than live in on-post housing.

The BAH dollar amount is based on a number of factors of which the most important are the servicemembers’ military rank and the local cost of living at their duty station. Balfour Beatty received the Fort Leonard Wood contract after the original contractor, American Eagle, had major problems at other installations.

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