Ramstein’s got ‘Connections’

Betsy Allen
435th Services Squadron

***image1***This may sound too good to be true, but there is a new 435th Services Squadron facility at Ramstein offering a place to play popular arcade games and Xbox, rent a party room, take piano lessons and surf the Internet. Maybe you’ve heard the name “Connections” tossed around in conversation. The rumor is now a reality, and Connections is kicking things off right with a grand opening 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday.
Connections, located in Bldg. 411 next to the Ramstein Community Center, houses the possibility for entertainment for kids, teens and adults. When you first walk into Connections, you may be drawn to the large arcade, The Next Level, including all the latest arcade games, black-light effects and disco balls.
Debi Smothers, Amusement Program Coordinator said, “Some of the games we have include Tokyo Cop, Tsumo, a Simpsons Pinball Machine and Time Crisis III, and the kids’ games give tickets that children redeem for prizes.”
With fun names like Popcorn, Wacky Gator, Ratz and Bug Blitz, what kid can resist?
Connections offers a huge multi-purpose room that is an extension of the community center.
“There’s been a real need in this community for a large room to have private parties/functions that allows you to bring in your own food and beverages, except for alcohol, at a minimal fee,” said Linda Crom, Ramstein Community Center director. The room is spacious and bright, with plenty of windows. There’s room for games, cake eating, gift unwrapping, and meeting space. “In the future, we hope to have monthly video gaming tournaments in this room,” Ms. Crom added.
Connections is several facilities under one roof. If you continue walking from the multipurpose room, you’ll encounter three music instructional classrooms; all rooms have soundproofed walls and a piano. Whether it is flute, piano or guitar lessons, these rooms offer an atmosphere that is bound to enhance the students’ learning experience.
***image3***Another specialty area is Station 411, an 18 and older game and computer room with a lively café atmosphere. Computers with Internet access line one wall and six Xbox machines line the opposite wall. The coolest part is you can play Xbox while sitting on comfortable couches.
“The Xbox stations are free play for anyone over 18, but military have priority for this bit of stress relief and entertainment,” explained Ms. Crom. While visiting Station 411, purchase cappuccinos, snacks and more at the concession stand.
Around the corner from Station 411, check out The Edge, which is the new teen center. The Edge includes a multipurpose area and a large room with a disc jockey booth, dance floor, pool table, snack bar serving food and beverages, an attached kitchen for large events and plenty of room for sitting in large leather chairs, while talking, reading, watching a large-screen television or just listening to music.
***image2***The new teen center is also home to a technology lab.
“Ten computers with high-speed internet connection are available for work or play,” said Chett Kline, Ramstein Teen Center director. An Xbox and Playstation area offers teens another outlet for stress relief and friendly competition. The teen center will be used for events ranging from club meeting spots to formal dances.
Connections is an extension of the Ramstein Community Center which already offers many family programs such as Sugar Plum Lane, various antique and flea markets, classes and family entertainment.
To hit the ground running, Connections invites families to the first Family Night, celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday, in the new facility 5 to 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Facility hours for Station 411 and The Next Level are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 1 to 9 p.m. Sundays and holidays. The Teen Center is open 3:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, 3:30 to 11 p.m. Fridays, 3 to 10 p.m. Saturdays and is closed on Sundays.