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Private House on the Prairie: Family housing at Minot AFB, N.D., will officially transfer from the Air Force to a private residential development company next spring, announced base officials. They signed an agreement with private developer Balfour Beatty Communities to improve and manage the base's residential community. Congress authorized the military housing privatization initiative for all stateside bases in the 1990s as a means to upgrade and maintain military housing at affordable costs. Privatized communities offer amenities outside the reach of military budgets such as community and recreation areas, say Air Force officials. Improving the quality of military housing is seen as one means of retaining airmen. The Air Force's plan has been to complete housing privatization at its stateside bases in 2012. So far, airmen have registered higher levels of satisfaction in the privatized homes, Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told Congress earlier this year. (Minot report by A1C. Jessica McConnell)