RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The design company blamed for some of the problems with Ramstein Air Base’s delayed mall and hotel complex last year received the Air Force’s top award for design.

JSK Internationale Architekten und Ingenieure GMbH of Germany received the 2006 Air Force award for “outstanding design concept,” according to a press release in March 2006.

Faulty design and a complicated method of dishing out contracts to small and midsized construction firms are the chief reasons given for the hotel and mall — dubbed the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center — being behind schedule.

In the press release highlighting the award, Brig. Gen. Danny Gardner said the award was “about people and agencies working fluently together towards a common vision.” Gardner, director of installations and mission support for U.S. Air Forces in Europe, testified Thursday in Washington at a congressional hearing.

When comparing the project to a football team, Gardner said JSK was like a “quarterback” and the U.S. government like the owner.

When asked about the problems with the project in April, Rhineland-Palatinate state Minister of Finance Ingolf Deubel blamed design work and coordination. JSK could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Capt. Andrew Sheehan, the 435th Civil Engineering Squadron’s KMCC project manager, told Stars and Stripes in April that design inaccuracies forced workers to do additional work to fix the errors.

But Air Force press releases and internal news stories over the past two years do not mention some of the problems and the delays. An Air Force press release in September 2005 was titled “KMCC construction on track” even though officials knew the mall and hotel wouldn’t open as soon as initially hoped.

Ceiling heights for some stores didn’t match, the food court counters were in the wrong spot and the foundation for the escalator was a meter off the mark.

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