Plans are now in the works to build approximately 50 new homes within the Fort Leonard Wood Homes community here, officials said, with construction anticipated to begin this year.
Ted Read, project director for Balfour Beatty Communities, Fort Leonard Wood’s housing partner, said the current plan is to build 35 to 45 homes in the Woodlands neighborhood — in the open space that sits along Cable Street — and possibly a smaller number of homes in the Piney Hills neighborhood.
“This includes a mix of three- and four-bedroom home designs, as those floor plans have historically seen the highest demand from families assigned to Fort Leonard Wood,” he said. “We expect to build a few different home styles that will offer similar features but in different configurations. The new development will also include a number of single-story, accessible homes for people with disabilities.”
Read said the new construction is meant to replace older homes that will then be demolished. The project is part of a larger plan intended to “continuously improve the community and housing inventory available to military families at Fort Leonard Wood.”
Col. Jeff Paine, Fort Leonard Wood Garrison commander, said improving family housing is one of his top priorities.
“We must make sure we’re keeping the promises made to our service members and their families when it comes to providing the best housing possible,” Paine said. “Ultimately, we want Fort Leonard Wood to be the No. 1 assignment of choice for service members and civilians — that starts with quality of life.”
While the project is still in the planning stages, Read said surveys and focus group discussions with on-post residents have proved invaluable in designing homes with features “military families are looking for today.”
“Through these efforts, we gained valuable information that has directly informed the home designs and floor plans that are currently being finalized,” he said. “As we commence any new construction project, we carefully consider the unique needs of the people who will be occupying the space to ensure the home design, features and finishes will deliver the optimal living experience.”
Some of the key features prioritized in the design of these homes includes open floor plans and easy flow to the living spaces, ample storage areas, and abundant natural light, Read said.
“In terms of building materials, we are, of course, focused on integrating energy-efficient materials and systems to ensure residents are comfortable and utility costs are low,” he said. “We are also working with our vendors to explore opportunities to incorporate ‘smart’ features in these homes to better support the technology needs of military families today.”
Paine said he welcomes the improvements to Fort Leonard Wood’s housing.
“As the Army continues to prioritize people, providing excellent housing for our Soldiers and families just makes sense,” he said. “Constructing new homes is one way we are showing how much importance we place on our most valuable asset.”