Construction at Grafenwöhr reaches halfway point
Stars and Stripes August 23, 2006
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — About half of the billion dollars’ worth of construction projects to help the Army cope with the influx of thousands of soldiers have been completed, according to the directorate of public works.
Grafenwöhr’s director of public works, Dwane Watsek, said the Army’s Efficient Basing Grafenwöhr construction projects — which include thousands of houses, 12 new or renovated barracks, two schools, a dining facility, wash racks for Stryker armored personnel carriers, 24 company headquarters and motor pools and the Army’s largest post exchange in Europe — are all on track to be completed on time.
“We are executing as per the original plan in 2000. We have had some hiccups. A couple of contractors have gone under, but we have recovered well. We expect to be done on time by late 2009 or early 2010,” he said.
The military construction budget for EBG is $600 million, but once contributions for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Department of Defense Education Activity and housing costs are factored in, the total budget is about $1 billion, he said.
“EBG is approaching its halfway point,” Watsek said. “There are a few [projects] still in design but mostly they are in execution.”
Many EBG projects are complete, Watsek said.
A large administrative building near gate 3, building 244, has been occupied since last year, along with the 7th Army Non Commissioned Officer Academy at Camp Normandy, said Susanne Bartsch, a Grafenwöhr spokeswoman.
A set of company headquarters was occupied by the 615th Military Police Company and the 12th Chemical Company earlier this year, and soldiers from those units recently occupied one of the new barracks buildings, she said.
“We are starting to fill three newly renovated barracks buildings, which each hold 76 single soldiers,” Watsek added. And more and more soldiers are moving into newly built off-post “build-to-lease” housing as they arrive in Grafenwöhr, he said.
Other EBG projects that are complete include the 3747th Reserve Training Brigade facility at Camp Normandy, the Grafenwöhr Physical Fitness Center and the dining facility on Main Post. The chow hall will not open until next year, when more soldiers arrive, officials said.
One project that was delayed by several months, but is back on track, is a wash rack upgrade between gates 6 and 9. The project was set back after a contractor went out of business. However, Watsek said the delay allowed the project to be redesigned to cater to wheeled vehicles such as the newly arrived 2nd Cavalry Regiment Stryker armored personnel carriers, instead of tracked vehicles.
Perhaps the most visible EBG project is a $29.5 million shopping complex that will include a post exchange, commissary and parking for 1,000 vehicles. The mall’s construction has advanced rapidly in recent months with most of the exterior walls complete and work on the car park well-advanced. The mall is scheduled to open on time next summer, officials said.
Meanwhile, at Netzaberg, a new town where soldiers will live just outside the boundary of the training area, much of the exterior work on a new elementary and middle school complex is finished. Watsek said the school project is 50 percent complete, with construction due to finish by mid-October next year. A child development center and youth services complex at Netzaberg has just started construction along with a road ringing the government-controlled portion of the town.