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GRAFENWÖHR, Germany – Construction will start in March on a 136-room, $24 million on-post hotel at Grafenwöhr.

Audre Binder, Grafenwöhr Morale, Welfare and Recreation director, said Thursday that the hotel will replace the Tower Inn, a facility that billets guests in several century-old buildings on the main post.

"It will be a complete replacement for this dispersed service that we have," she said.

The new facility, which will also be called the Tower Inn, will house all guests in a single building on a site occupied by several dilapidated tennis courts behind the Burger King/Bowling Ally complex, she said.

The new hotel will not have a restaurant, but the old Tower Inn Conference Center and Restaurant — near Gate 1 — will remain open, Binder said.

No decision has been taken on the fate of the other old Tower Inn buildings, she said.

In the long term there are plans to replace the aging Crystal Inn hotel at Vilseck with a 258-unit, $40 million facility. However, funding has yet to be secured for that project, she said.

Grafenwöhr’s on-post cinema, the Tower Theater, which closed for renovation in September, will not reopen until next summer, according to U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwöhr commander Col. Nils "Chris" Sorenson.

The theater was expected to reopen early next year but during the renovation it was discovered that a large fire wall needed to be added to the building, he said.

Tom Hays, the garrison’s director of public work, said it’s not unusual to encounter structural situations such as this when renovating older buildings. The Tower Theater was built in 1949.

When the facility reopens, it will include improved handicapped access, refurbished restrooms, a new concession stand, a Dolby sound system and rebuilt projectors, he said.

Binder said funding has also been approved for an $11 million recreation center at Dickhaeuter Lake, an area inside Grafenwöhr Training Area but accessible to ID-card holders.

Phase one of the project, which is in the design phase, will include an equipment issue facility, classrooms, lockers, a snack bar, multipurpose courts, a climbing wall, high and low ropes course and cabins, she said.

"It is intended to be a recreation destination," she said.

Phase two of the project, which has yet to be approved, would add a driving range, a putting and pitching green and a trap shooting range, she said.

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