Navy unveils new approach to military housing

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - South Mississippi is now reaping the benefit of what Navy officials call a completely new approach to military housing. Thursday officials from the Gulfport Seabee Base cut the ribbon on the NorthPointe Preserve which is located off of County Farm Road in Harrison County. The private-public partnership is striving to improve the lives of those who serve their country.

Janet Tanner said she watched her children play on hardwood floors and could not help but think how different NorthPointe Preserve is from the military housing the family is used to living in.

"His and her sinks in the master bedroom," said Tanner. "There are ceiling fans in every room and we have screened in back porches. Big improvement."

NorthPointe Preserve is made up of 60 brand new three and four bedroom units built through the joint efforts of the Navy and private developer, Balfour Beatty Communities. The developer said the relationship doesn't end once construction is over.

"We actually do all of the maintenance," said Ted Lipham, project director. "We take care of the yards. The residents just bring their family and their furniture and move in. We've found everywhere we go there's a tremendous feeling of comfort because of our reaction time on any service calls that are asked for."

Seabee base officials say better housing for Seabees and their families boosts morale.

Base Commander Ed Brown said, "The Seabee is the mission for us. They accomplish the mission. And being able to have their families in such beautiful housing and in such a great place, they can go down range and do what we need them to do."

"We actually have an opportunity to give back to those that serve," said Lipham. "They actually protect and serve this country and give us the opportunity to live the American dream. So this gives them part of that American dream that they can also live."

Lipham said NorthPointe Preserve was designed with sidewalks and playgrounds to give it a neighborhood feel military members can be comfortable calling home.

Balfour Beatty officials said NorthPointe Preserve is one of 11 sites it is building for the military in the Southeast as part of a $200 million contract. Navy officials say first priority goes to military families, but if the units are not full, civilians may be allowed to move in.

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