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PHOTO CAPTION:  Balfour Beatty Communities hard hat and shovel are staged for the Van Horne ground breaking ceremony at March 19. The construction of 500 townhomes is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

April 15, 2013
Sgt. Ida Irby

FORT BLISS, Texas - Fort Bliss command teams, Balfour Beatty Communities, Residential Communities Initiative officials and regional officials participated in a groundbreaking ceremony to commence new construction of the Van Horne neighborhood March 19.

This is the final construction phase of the $695 million investment to complete 4,469 new homes on Fort Bliss. To date, 1,712 homes have been renovated and 747 dated homes have been demolished on the installation. Five-hundred energy-efficiency homes will generate a new community for privates through staff sergeants and their families.

Approved by the National Association of Home Builders' emerald standard for energy efficiency, the community will add to Fort Bliss' commitment to be a "net zero" installation. Each four-plex townhome will be complete with energy-efficient appliances, lighting and recycled water landscaping. Building to this standard will result in communities that are among the most energy-efficient in the Army.

In addition to the environmentally friendly efficiencies, the 1,900 square feet townhomes will feature individually fenced yards and single car garages. The neighborhood will also feature nearby walking trails, gazebos, playgrounds, and basketball courts.

The previous Van Horne community was demolished June 2011. "Now we move to the future of Van Horne ... to a new, much desired parcel with conveniences within walking distance, nearly double the size of previous homes," stated Diana Kinlaw, BBC regional project director.

Maj. Gen. Dana J. H. Pittard, commanding general, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, remembers the growing community of Van Horne from the perspective of a young boy, the same age of three-year-old Ja'monte Hayes, in attendance at the ceremony with his three brothers and father Brandon. They represent the family of deployed soldier Spc. Toni A. Hayes, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, which represents the new beginning for families who will reside in the historic community.

"When I look at the Hayes family, I am reminded of my childhood," said Pittard. "My family and I moved here in 1960; my father was a young captain. I was just a little younger than Ja'monte running around [Van Horne] like he is today.

"This is an investment into people and memories," continued Pittard. "I'm so proud that we are breaking ground today on Van Horne housing area."

The construction schedules for the complex put it at completion by the first quarter of 2016, although families are slated to occupy completed homes before 2014.