Contractors complete finishing touches on KMCC

by Darlene Y. Cowsert
U.S. Air Forces in Europe Public Affairs

There’s a lot more than construction going on at the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center and it all leads to fast-approaching opening dates.

As contractors complete finishing touches on walls, floors and lights, movers are delivering furnishings for the 350-room Visiting Quarters and scheduling moves for Outdoor Recreation, both planned to open this spring along with the Sports lounge, German bakery and Ramstein Tickets and Tours.

Remaining venues to open in phases throughout the summer are the largest AAFES main store worldwide, 51 vendor shops, Macaroni Grill, a nine-counter food court, shoppette, Community Bank and Service Credit Union.

At 844,000 square feet – 15 times the size of the White House – the complex consolidates services, retail and lodging facilities to serve 45,000 U.S. military members, civilians and families working and living in Kaiserslautern, as well as thousands of travelers transiting the European theater. Conveniently located across from the Air Mobility Command Passenger Terminal, it will offer local and American-style cuisine and a variety of services and products for the entire KMC, outlying military communities and transient guests.

“This is a very significant quality of life improvement for everyone in the KMC as well as those traveling throughout Europe,” said Maj. Gen. Marc Rogers, U.S. Air Forces in Europe vice commander. “Providing one-stop shopping under one roof isn’t just convenient, it also makes sense in terms of maintenance and management of consolidated facilities and space utilization, it decreases traffic on local roads and reduces time currently needed to drive to multiple facilities scattered across two installations.”

AAFES and Air Force Services have co-located major operations for the first time, and both will offer some firsts for people seeking goods, services and entertainment at overseas military facilities.

“The number of European-owned concessions will expand from a total of 14 at Ramstein and Vogelweh to 51, and new additions to the food court that will seat 1,000 include the first Johnny Rockets for AAFES worldwide and a Manchu Wok and Captain D’s – both a first in AAFES Europe,” said Tom Gross, AAFES general manager. “The four-plex movie theater with 500 stadium seats is another first in AAFES Europe.”

The AAFES main store will consist of 165,000 square feet of retail space, and include more than a dozen concept shops such as Victoria’s Secret, Nautica, Martha Stewart, Bose and Nintendo.

Additional features of Services include Romano’s Macaroni Grill that will seat 285 inside and 52 on a patio. Outdoor Recreation will provide expanded equipment rental, adventure get-away plans and a state-of-the-art climbing complex. The sports lounge will feature bar service, multiple televisions for viewing sports events and a gaming room. RTT will provide information and arrangements for air and train travel, auto rentals, cruise and vacation packages, as well as bus tours reaching destinations throughout Germany and Europe.

“The KMCC will truly be a one-of-a-kind customer service facility with great amenities for the military and civilian employees and family members,” said Lt. Col. Dawn Lancaster, 435th Services Squadron commander. “There is nothing else like it in our military communities and we look forward to being able to provide more services for all our customers in one great location.”

While the KMCC will provide a taste of home, it isn’t likely to dampen American curiosity and sense of adventure. Those anxious to enjoy the cultural, educational and entertainment offerings of the local and surrounding communities will find abundant information available at the “Window to Rheinland-Pfalz,” prominently located outside the Visiting Quarters lobby.

The information center will be operated by a State/Municipal Cooperation consisting of the City and County of Kaiserslautern and City of Ramstein-Miensenbach with support of the state government to inform and direct visitors to historic, cultural and recreational attractions throughout the area.

Concurrent with openings at the KMCC, the base exchange and all related facilities at Vogelweh will close. AAFES plans to convert the current Pulaski Shoppette/Gas Station into a small module base exchange with the current stock.  
Current plans for the transition of closings at one venue and openings at the new location are aimed at providing services with minimal interruption for KMC residents.