Construction ahead: Civil engineers provide foundation for upcoming projects

Staff Sgt. M. Davis
Kaiserslautern American editor

***image1***The 435th Civil Engineer Group has the blueprint on KMC projects and is putting plans into action.
Many projects have to do with quality of life, military family housing and airfield development, said Samer Karmi, chief of engineering and construction with the 435th CEG.
“Trees were cleared recently near the Air Mobility Command passenger terminal in preparation for the KMC Center, also known as the Gateway Mall,” Mr. Karmi said. “The $160 million project begins construction this spring and will include restaurants such as Macaroni Grill, retail stores, a sports bar, an outdoor recreation center and RTT, four theaters, above-ground parking and visitors’ quarters.”
The project will be completed in two major phases, he said.
Phase I will include the construction of the visitors’ quarters and the outer shell of the Mall, while Phase II will include all interior work, and the completion of the entire project estimated in the summer of 2006.
The new Ramstein Enlisted Club will open its doors late this summer, said Mr. Karmi.
The $11 million project, located near the base bowling center, will include many types of rooms for activities, and a new Chili’s restaurant for KMC families.
People can take a cool dip in Ramstein’s new indoor swimming pool in 2006. The facility will be built near the Northside Post office and will provide an Olympic size swimming pool, diving platforms, a wading pool, outdoor sunbathing area, slides and lockers.
Also on the horizon is an expansion and renovation of the Ramstein Southside Fitness Center, Mr. Karmi said.
“The expansion of the center will start this July and will take about 12 months to complete,” he said. “The addition will more than double the size of the fitness center.”
The projects will cost more than $14.5 million and will include racquetball courts, aerobics room, lockers, childcare and air conditioning in some parts of the facility, he said. Upon completion of the new addition, the old facility will undergo a complete renovation valued at approximately $4.6 million to bring it up to standards and provide a state of the art fitness facility.
In the area of airfield development, the 435th CEG is at full throttle transforming the base to encompass the Rhine-Main Air Base mission in October 2005, Mr. Karmi said.
“We are transforming Ramstein from a fighter base to an airlift hub so the wing can support the global challenges that it is tasked with in the theater of operations,” he said.
The airfield projects total $321 million which includes projects currently under way and future projects like the new Air Freight Terminal and an addition to the Ramstein Passenger Terminal.
The 435th CEG keeps a roof over people’s heads with many KMC housing projects.
“The new 120-person dorm on Ramstein will be completed around July,” Mr. Karmi said.
The project will have one-plus-one dormitory rooms and will have a parking garage.
In addition to the great many renovation projects in family housing, many will be renovated or replaced on Ramstein, Landstuhl, Kapaun and Vogelweh in the coming years.
More than $550 million is invested to provide the Air Force’s best housing on those bases within the next seven years, Mr. Karmi said.
“Our predecessors had a vision — to improve and transform our base into a world-class airlift hub,” said Col. Carlos Cruz-Gonzalez, 435th Civil Engineer Group commander. “They also had the courage to plan and program the projects required to attain that vision. I’m proud of the men and women of the 435th CEG and the important role they play in ensuring the safe and timely execution of all these projects.”