Excitement builds as construction of KMCC continues

Erin Zagursky
Kaiserslautern American

An artist’s rendition of the exterior entry stairs of the visitor’s quarters, also known as the grand staircase.

***image1***As the New Year begins, work feverishly continues on construction of the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center here.

Located across from the Ramstein Passenger Terminal, the KMCC will offer unique foods and services for those living in and traveling through the KMC.

“The KMCC is designed to be a one-stop shopping center for travelers and those stationed in the KMC,” said Col. Kurt Lohide, 435th Air Base Wing commander.

The 844,000 square foot facility will include an eight-story, 350-room visiting quarters facility attached to what will be the largest Army and Air Force Exchange Service facility ever built. This is the first time that AAFES and Air Force Services have collocated major business operations of this magnitude.

“We’re very excited to be able to participate in this type of quality-of-life initiative,” said Rick Talbot, KMCC AAFES facility manager. “AAFES has been serving service personnel and their families for over 100 years – this is simply another avenue for us to take care of those who sacrifice so much.”

The AAFES portion will include a four-plex movie theater with stadium seating, Power Zone, Outdoor Living, Toyland, Four Seasons, food court, new car sales and other vendors in an American-style shopping center layout.

Additionally, the shopping center will feature some concessionaires available for the first time on U.S. installations, as well as specialty stores from the local community and the United States.

The center will also include a community and state information area which will showcase some of the local Rheinland-Pfalz activities.

The south end of the facility will include an Outdoor Recreation facility with a two-story climbing wall, the Ramstein Ticket and Tours office, Romano’s Macaroni Grill restaurant and a sports lounge with local cuisine.

“Although the KMCC will offer many American conveniences for the community,” said Colonel Lohide, “it will also provide information about the unique products and services offered at off-base restaurants and stores in the local community – further strengthening our longstanding German-American friendship in the region.”

Although the KMCC will be located on an air base, it is expected to greatly enhance the quality of life for all Department of Defense cardholders and their families living in and traveling through this region.

“The opening of the KMCC will have a positive impact on our military community as a whole. For those traveling through our area it will be a welcome diversion and the opportunity to buy a few essentials and have a good meal in a convenient location,” said Melissa A. Hastings, U.S.
Army Garrison Kaiserslautern safety manager. “Those of us stationed here will be fortunate enough to reap the benefits on a daily basis. Our family is truly excited to see the KMCC open. ”

Ground was broken at the construction site for the center in summer 2004.
“We created an aggressive construction schedule, and are working with more than what will be a total of 26 contractors to ensure our goals are met,” said Jeff Noorda, KMCC Project Management Office. “Watching this project grow from the ground up has been amazing. We’re all very proud of what’s been accomplished thus far – and we really look forward to seeing how people react to the finished structure.”

The nearly $200 million endeavor is currently the largest DOD project under construction, and is expected to open in two phases: the visiting quarters in late summer and the AAFES shopping center in early 2007.