The first of two houses are demolished, April 29, in celebration of funding for new housing projects, which will give Fort Hood 600 new homes. (U.S. Army photo by Blair Dupre, Fort Public Affairs)
Lt. Gen. Douglas Gabram, commanding general of Installation Management Command, answers questions during a press conference after the ceremony. (U.S. Army photo by Blaire Dupre, Fort Hood Public Affairs)
Phillip Carpenter, chief operating officer of Lendlease, speaks during the Fort Hood Family Housing Development Ceremony April 29. Fort Hood Family Housing is a Lendlease privatized military housing company. (U.S. Army photo by Blair Dupre, Fort Hood Public Affairs)

FORT HOOD, Texas — Army senior leaders joined with representatives of Lendlease Inc., the parent company of Fort Hood Family Housing, to begin the process of replacing nearly 600 homes in Chaffee and McNair Villages during a ceremony at Fort Hood April 29.

The project is part of a $1.1 billion renovation effort that will target six posts throughout the Army.

Fort Hood received the lion’s share of the allocation, with nearly half — $420 million — of the funds being awarded to the Great Place.

Lt. Gen. Douglas Gabram, the U.S. Army Installation Management Command commanding general, was one of the guest speakers at the ceremony. Before giving thanks to his civilian partners and the Fort Hood community, Gabram paused to reflect on his own time at Fort Hood.

“This is a little personal to me,” Gabram said. “Fort Hood’s like coming home. I’m proud to have spent 16 years of my 37 years in this uniform, here at Fort Hood.”

The general said this project is about much more than just money.

“I know some have said, frankly, ‘Hey we’re just throwing money at this.’ That could not be further from the truth,” he said, noting that he meets weekly with garrison commanders and their housing partners, ensuring command emphasis remains focused on the Army family and on-post housing issues. “Just for scale, there are just over 87,000 privatized homes in the Army. As of yesterday, from all those homes, we had 80 displaced families, and 30 of those are from pre-planned renovations. In other words, only 50 out of 87,000 homes. Just a year ago, that number of displaced families was much higher.”

Gabram went on to say that his time at Fort Hood had shaped his family and his career, and held a special place in his heart. He also said that he has great hope for the renovation project as it advances.

“It’s super exciting,” Gabram said. “I want to say the purpose here today is to showcase the Army’s partnership with Lendlease, and our joint commitment to improving the inventory of privatized housing here at Fort Hood and across the Army.”

The new houses will be three bedroom, two-and-half bath homes for junior enlisted Soldiers; the largest community of Soldiers on post. The initiative’s goal is to provide open floor plan homes with modern fixtures, such as luxury vinyl flooring and granite countertops. The project also aims to increase the total storage space to allow for maximum comfort and ease of living for young families.

Along with the 600 new homes, an additional 1,300 homes will be renovated. Renovations will include exterior painting, infrastructure and interior improvements. Also, more than 2,300 homes will have roof replacements.

The ceremony’s conclusion was marked by the demolition of two of the homes intended for replacement. The Fort Hood commanding general, Lt. Gen. Pat White, struck the ceremonial first blow after two excavators began the process.

“This is about taking care of our people,” White said. “It’s just about people because that’s who the Army is.”

Following the ceremony, key participants shared their vision for the project as it moved forward. Among those at the ceremony was U.S. Congressman Roger Williams of Texas’ 25th District, who said that the renovation represents a positive and exciting development for the community.

“It’s going to take care of our kids, who take care of us,” Williams said. “It’s gonna tell all of America that our young men and women are the most precious we’ve had and we’re going to take care of them.”