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News > Schriever residents find value with on-base living
Schriever residents find value with on-base living

Posted 3/12/2012   Updated 3/14/2012 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys
4th Space Operations Squadron

3/12/2012 - SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- For some, winter brings a long and treacherous drive down Highway 94 to Schriever Air Force Base when snow falls. For others, it's just another quick drive, or walk, to work. Schriever's on-base housing not only provides a safe and fuel-efficient commute, but many unsung benefits as well.

"We usually hear the same story from families who have either moved on base after living in the local community or who have comparison shopped prior to arriving here; It is less expensive to live on base," said Devon Forhan, Tierra Vista's community manager.
Military members living off base have many additional charges associated with their cost of living than those living on base. Most houses or apartments require residents to deposit first and last month's rent before moving in, pay for all utilities, trash pickup and other incidental costs associated with living in a non-privatized community.

Recent changes in the utility program have urged some residents to check into the costs of living in town.

"As soon as they do a little research, though, they realize that they have a better deal on base," Forhan said. "While the new Residential Pay Utilities Program tells residents how much they are consuming each month, the majority of our residents will not have to pay anything extra unless their consumption goes well above the utility allowance for their home. Although, to some residents, it may have seemed that the program created a new obligation, the primary change is that residents now have an opportunity to better understand how much of their basic allowance for housing is going toward utilities."

Residents who can reduce their consumption below the allowed utility allowance can actually receive money back from Tierra Vista.

"There is so much more that our families have here and a lot of it is extremely hard to find in the local community," said Pete Sims, Tierra Vista project director. "Our families live in new homes, within a securely gated community. We have programs that strengthen our community while supporting our military families; recreation facilities, a swimming pool, allowance of two pets, free maintenance and much more are on the way."

The community value of living in privatized housing on base has not been lost on its residents.

"I grew up living in military homes and have never lived in homes like these, with modern appliances and being so energy efficient," said Kristine Wilkinson, wife of Staff Sgt. Marshall Wilkinson, 9th Civil Engineer Squadron.

Debbie Goudy and her husband, Senior Master Sgt. Donald Goudy, who is currently serving a remote assignment, have a similar experience living on base.

"This is the best housing we have ever lived in," she said. "If they would let me, I would stay here forever. I love the floor plan. The house is huge. The community is safe and I never have to worry about my kids."

While many residents find value in the community and family experience at Schriever, others enjoy the cost savings of on-base housing compared to typical housing expenses in the local area.

According to Tierra Vista officials, typical housing costs for residents choosing to live in Colorado Springs rather than Schriever can add up quickly. In addition to installation costs, hook-up fees and deposits, residents can expect to pay $265 to $310 per month for utilities (water, gas, electric), plus costs for trash collection ($25-$30 per month) and gasoline to commute to and from Schriever AFB, which can run from $150 to $300 per month.

"We really want current and future residents to be as informed as possible about what we have to offer -- benefits that improve not only their family's quality of life, but their pocketbook as well," said Forhan. "We have great homes, great residents and a great community. At the end of the day, it is really about the choices people make for where they want their families to live - and we want them with us."

Ryan Mielke,Tierra Vista, contributed to this article.

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