Installation Excellence funds slated for Ramstein upgrades

Nate Cairney
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***When Ramstein representatives accepted the Commander in Chief’s Annual Award for Installation Excellence May 5 in Washington, D.C., they also scooped up the $1 million prize that came with it.

Tagged to the prize was an inherent question: how to spend the money? According to Col. Kurt Lohide, 435th Air Base Wing commander, Ramstein followed the same strategy that made it so successful in the first place.

“Since it (the award) was a Team Ramstein effort, we solicited input from the three wings and major tenant units,” said Colonel Lohide. “They all helped lead us to winning the Installation Excellence Award and the $1 million.”

After receiving suggestions from the various constituencies, commanders and vice commanders from the 86th Airlift Wing, 435th ABW and 38th Combat Support Wing gathered to select the projects that would have the biggest impact across Ramstein in terms of improving the overall quality of life, Colonel Lohide said. Four areas were ultimately chosen to receive significant upgrades.

***image2***The upper and lower soccer fields at Donnelly Park will receive sod and permanent irrigation systems. In addition, all three fields will receive lighting.
New lights will be installed along the two-mile base running trail near the Southside Fitness Center. It will be illuminated during hours of darkness, allowing runners greater opportunities to escape treadmills and exercise safely during the evening or early morning.

Additionally, the softball fields behind the Southside Fitness Center will receive significant upgrades. One field will receive new sod, lighting, foul poles and a permanent irrigation system. Pavement will also be installed beneath the bleachers, and a scoreboard and garage shed will be added.
Finally, funds will be allocated to improve the base lake picnic area. “The work will involve improving tables and benches, installing a bike rack, treating wood structures with preservatives and other minor improvements,” said Colonel Lohide.

Colonel Lohide also indicated that the attention to Ramstein’s quality of life is ongoing. To come is the purchase of a portable stage for use at large base functions, and the purchase and installation of batting cages in early 2007.
The Installation Excellence funded projects are scheduled to begin in the coming weeks.