GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The Army plans to use a billion-dollar construction program at Grafenwöhr Training Area as a blueprint for renovation of U.S. facilities worldwide, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In recent year, the Efficient Basing Grafenwöhr (EBG) construction program has added numerous state-of-the-art facilities such as a new physical fitness center, post exchange, medical center, barracks, schools and a filling station to the Army’s largest training area in Europe.

At the same time, the garrison — which encompasses the nearby Rose Barracks post at Vilseck — has seen the influx of thousands of soldiers and family members with the arrival of the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in 2006 and the 172nd Infantry Brigade this year.

The EBG design, which allows soldiers to walk from barracks to company operations centers and motor pools, then drive military vehicles directly to ranges inside the training area, is seen as a model for the Army, according to Walter Bogdanow, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers area engineer for southern Germany.

"They like the setup so much that [Installation Management Command] is using it as a standard for facilities back in the States," he said.

About two-thirds of the construction dollars budgeted for EBG have been allocated to date, with the bulk of the remaining funds due to be placed in the next nine to 12 months, Bogdanow said. Motor pools, headquarters buildings and barracks for five battalions are under construction at Grafenwöhr, and some of the new facilities will be ready for occupants by summer.

The motor pools, each costing about $60 million, include vehicle maintenance shops, offices, open sheds for parking military vehicles such as Abrams tanks or Bradley fighting vehicles, cranes and, in some cases, filling stations, he said.

Next to each motor pool there will be a $6 million to $10 million company operations facility. Each company operations facility will house two to four companies, he said.

Construction of new facilities for one battalion at Grafenwöhr are already complete, three more will be ready in June, and the last two are scheduled for completion in 2010, Bogdanow said.

Eight of 12 planned barracks built under EBG are complete, with four still under construction. And officials have added four more barracks to the EBG projects to accommodate the large number of troops moving to Grafenwöhr, Bogdanow said.

Renovation of several older buildings also is under way at Grafenwöhr to provide six new battalion headquarters, he added.

The Army is also preparing to award a million-dollar contact to replace range facilities for a range that had to be moved to accommodate the new facilities, he said.

"In spring 2010, the major part of EBG will be completed," he said.

However, three projects will not be started until 2011 — a new chapel complex and a fire station/provost martial’s office/CID office, he said.

That facility will be built near the gate leading to the new Netzaberg off-post military housing area allowing responders to reach the largest off-post military housing area in Germany within minutes in an emergency, he said.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.

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