Grafenwöhr rec center plans take shape
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Plans to build a sprawling recreation center to help soldiers returning from downrange blow off steam are taking shape at U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwöhr.
The $11.8 million, 20,500-square-foot project will provide high-adrenaline challenges for the soldiers, such as a high-ropes course and a climbing wall, garrison commander Col. Chris Sorenson said.
The facility also would have a paintball range, trails and open field areas by a lake in the garrison’s training area, he said.
The idea of the center, which could open sometime in 2013, is to deliver as many of the activities in the Army’s Warrior Adventure Quest program as possible, Audrey Binder, director for Morale, Welfare and Recreation at Grafenwöhr, said.
Warrior Adventure Quest programs in the Army are designed to boost soldiers’ mental toughness to help them cope with post-deployment stress.
“What we have found in our stress-management program is these types of events are novel,” Sorenson said, “… it’s exciting, it has a courage aspect to it, it’s challenging to the soldiers.”
The proposed center is about halfway through a yearlong environmental review with the German government, which has to give it a final approval, Sorenson said.
The project will be “green,” he said, by maximizing natural lighting, using solar power and incorporating energy-saving features. It will be near the garrison’s Gate 9 and Dickhaeuter Lake.
Officials said they also plan to make it available as a recreation area for dependents and civilians in the military community.
It will also save the garrison from having to take two-hour roundtrip treks to a high-ropes course in Tennesburg, Germany, Binder added.
“We would be the first (in Europe),” Binder said about having such a center. “Now that we are home to nearly three brigades of soldiers … we got a lot of soldiers here that we got to provide the service for.”
The center is also being designed with public input taken via Morale, Welfare and Recreation surveys that were done worldwide.