As construction crews work on the finishing touches of the Kaiserslautern Community Center, members of the 435th Services Squadron and AAFES busily prepare to open new venues and transition numerous facilities to the new location.
While much of their focus has been on furniture and construction, individuals at all levels are working hard to ensure the transfer is made with the least inconvenience to customers.
“We are truly excited about the KMCC. It’ll put a lot of great services and new venues under one roof, and it will be in the perfect location near the AMC Terminal,” said. Col. Don Bacon, 435th Air Base Wing commander. “Through our phased opening, we want to make sure our community still gets the fantastic customer service they’ve come to expect at KMC facilities.”
According to base and AAFES representatives, the long-anticipated opening of the KMCC will be accomplished in several phases, the first which is scheduled to start July 2.
The first phase will include the visitor’s quarters, Ramstein Tickets and Tours, Outdoor Recreation, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, the shoppette and a German bakery. Though many of the venues are new to the KMC, several of them will require a transition phase from one location to the next.
“As far as lodging is concerned, there will be no disruption to guests,” said Will Lane, 435th SVS Lodging general manager. “We’ll phase the front desk operation right over from our current location to the KMCC. Both [front desks] will be open during the transition to assist guests”
Though the new facility will house 350 new rooms, the total inventory for lodging throughout the KMC will actually go down slightly due to lodging capacity decreasing at Sembach.
While the transfer of lodging front-desk operations is going to be seamless, RTT and ODR will close their doors for a short period of time to allow employees to shift operations to the new facility.
“Right now we project RTT to close on June 26 (and) reopen at the KMCC on July 2nd,” said Steve Jerome, 435th SVS Community Support Flight chief. “Customers planning to do any booking for the 4th of July weekend, for example, need to contact RTT before June 26.”
In order to assist customers that have already scheduled a trip during the week of June 26 to July 2, RTT will establish an emergency phone line, which will be published before the holiday weekend and available on their Web site.
Similar to RTT, ODR will close on June 25 and reopen at the KMCC on July 2. Customers will also be able to reach ODR personnel via phone during the period of transition.
“We need this time to completely move our entire inventory to the new facility and set up,” Mr. Jerome said.
In an effort to reduce some of the inventory that would need to be moved to the new facility, ODR is having a sale at their current facility, marking down merchandise as they get closer to the
The next phase of openings will include the concessionaire mall, food court, the four-plex movie theater, Sixt Car Rental and barber shop. These venues are scheduled to open in late summer, according to Tom Gross, AAFES KMCC Exchange general manager.
“Disruption to the customer should be very minimal,” Mr. Gross said, adding that to avoid interruption in service, those businesses will close at their current locations at the end of their normal business day one day and open at the KMCC the next day. “We have to provide service day in and day out, while we open the KMCC at the same time.”
Though customers may not see a hub of activity outside, Mr. Gross emphasized that they are working hard every day to get the facilities open and ready.
“This is the largest AAFES store worldwide. This store is two-and-a-half times the size of the store in Grafenwoehr, which is the last mall we opened in Europe,” Mr. Gross said.
The AAFES mall at Grafenwohr took 89 days to open; however, the goal at Ramstein is 120.
“If it’s two and a half times the size you’d say that it would take more than 200 days,” he said. “We are not just going to sit back and take an easy day. We want to get in there to provide the service in a facility of adequate size … to the community.”
In addition, the Ramstein food court will close in late summer, with Vogelweh food court staying open until mid-fall, when the remaining AAFES facilities at the KMCC are currently scheduled to open.
In addition to the one-stop shopping and expanded variety, another major benefit the KMCC brings to the community is the many new job opportunities for local nationals and Americans.
AAFES is looking to hire more than 300 employees for their retail operations and, according to Mr. Gross, since work schedules are often flexible, these jobs may make excellent opportunities for spouses with children. Job seekers can check the employment section of www.aafes.com for current openings.
The 435th SVS projects they will hire 265 employees for the Macaroni Grill and other services functions, according to John Unpingco, 435th SVS Business Operations Flight deputy director.
Anyone interested in applying for the various vacancies should check out the services Web site at www.435thservices.com.
“This is a big mountain we’re climbing and we’re near the summit, making tremendous progress every day,” Colonel Bacon said. “The KMCC will be the centerpiece for the Ramstein community. We’re all coming together now to make it happen.”
Officials continue to strive for minimal inconvenience to customers during these transition periods; however, stress the importance of staying up to date as changes to opening dates may occur. Check out the Kaiserslautern American and the Ramstein Web site, www.ramstein.af.mil, for the latest information on KMCC openings and details.