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The Southern European Task Force (Airborne) has awarded a contract for a new wing to the Ederle Inn to the same joint venture recently chosen to build a new medical center in Vicenza.

The 9.3 million euro contract will add 58 family suites to the on-base lodging facility, giving it a total of 133 rooms — 87 designed for families moving in or out of the community.

“Most of the travelers staying here are families PCS-ing in or out,” said Gary Hyde, the Ederle Inn’s manager.

A recent renovation has reduced the number of rooms at the inn from 117 to 90, providing more family suites in the process, Hyde said. The facility originally opened in 1995 with 54 rooms and added another 48 rooms in 1998. The inn also manages 15 apartments on base that will disappear when the new wing debuts in the fall of 2009, Hyde said. Ground breaking for the new wing is expected to start around Thanksgiving.

Hyde said the new wing will be built to the west of the current facility where a parking lot and small playground currently exist. Another parking lot will later be built north of the inn.

The new suites include living rooms and kitchen areas as well as new furnishings.

The joint venture features two companies — Belfinger-Berger of Germany and Pizzarottia of Italy — that have each worked on numerous projects in Vicenza and Aviano Air Base.

They were selected to build the 30 million euro Enhanced Health Services Center last month. It’s set to open in 2010.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.

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