Fort Carson center earns high Green Council marks

You might have heard a lot of high praise for the Fort Carson Soldier Family Assistance Center that opened last year, and now there’s hard evidence to back up all the talk.

The $8 million project was designed and built by Springs-based DLR Group for the Army’s Warrior in Transition program, which helps wounded soldiers in recovery following deployment.

Last week, the U.S. Green Building Council bestowed the building with its Gold Certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and with good reason – the building is green through and through.

The 15,000-square-foot campus was built with local materials and large amounts of recycled content, incorporates natural lighting, utilizes high-performance mechanical equipment, requires little irrigation, and has bicycle storage and changing rooms for those who would prefer not to drive.

Still, the most important qualities of the building are what it provides to the soldiers.

“Our design created the ideal healing environment for soldiers returning from deployment,” said DLR Group Project Manager Tom Kapels.

There are large open spaces for recreation, windows in every office to maximize views, a back patio with a fire pit for barbecues, childcare centers, computer labs, and offices for counseling, social services, job referral and education assistance programs.

The new facility opened in June to replace the 5,000-square-foot space at the Army Community Service Building. Some said the old facility didn’t adequately support the needs of the Warriors in Transition program, but nobody is saying that about the new building.

January foreclosures still kind of scary

It would have been nice to start the year off with some surprisingly hopeful foreclosure data, but the good folks at the El Paso County Trustee’s office deal in hard numbers, and could offer no such thing.

There were 411 foreclosure starts in January, up from 365 last year. That’s the highest January on record, and more than the 357 foreclosure starts in January of 2009, which went on to be the worst year on record for foreclosures in the county.

And there’s more bad news: El Paso County Trustee Tom Mowle said he expects foreclosures to ramp up later in the year as loans reset. He projects 4,500 foreclosures in 2011, which is still near historical highs, but would be down from 4,828 in 2010.

So is there any room for optimism?

“You start getting some jobs in the area and the whole picture changes,” Mowle said.

Jonathan Easley can be reached at or 719-329-5235. Friend him on Facebook, find him on Twitter, and follow his blog at