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RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The crack of a cue ball, thumping bass and the steady click of computer keyboards are just a few of the sounds coming from Connections, a newly opened facility at Ramstein.

Next to the base community center, Connections has been open since Jan. 13, but had its grand opening Monday. The $1.4 million project took 13 months to complete, and staff members boast the facility has something for everyone.

“We have the Xbox in the cyber café, which are all free use, and those are open late in the evening,” said Stacey Harness, assistant director of the Ramstein Community Center. “We will be offering birthday parties, which we weren’t doing before, in the multipurpose room.”

The room, which can accommodate roughly 200 people, can also be reserved for conferences and other functions, Harness said. Three private music rooms are also located in Connections for piano lessons to augment the guitar and flute lessons being offered at the community center.

“It’s a nice comfortable space for the students,” Harness said.

The cyber café, known as Station 411, has seven computers, each with Webcams, and six televisions for playing Xbox video games. It’s open to adults 18 and over, and they can even buy a beer to sip while surfing the Net.

The Edge, located inside Connections, is for Kaiserslautern’s teenagers. A separate Internet room strictly for teens is available along with meeting rooms for clubs, a big-screen television, a pool table, pingpong table and video games.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Ramstein junior Geoff Minton.

“What we had before was like a hole in the wall,” Minton said of the former teen center in the community center.

“It gives teens a chance to hang out and relax without worrying about school or chores,” said Briana Fulton, an eighth-grader at Ramstein Middle School.

People of all ages can enjoy The Next Level, a video-game arcade, complete with black light, a disco ball and a digital jukebox, where the latest music can be downloaded from the Web.

“For this community, I believe it’s just what they needed for family support and well-being,” said Patrick Smith, a Connections recreational aide.

“I have been here seven years and have never see anything like this.”


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