Town hall focuses on updates to Vogelweh
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Military officials say they’re working to improve services to Vogelweh and outlying bases in east Kaiserslautern, four months after the closure of a post exchange and food court on Vogelweh created an outcry among some residents in the area.
The first change involves banking services, Army officials announced during a U.S. Army Garrison-Kaiserslautern town hall meeting Monday night.
Service Credit Union will open a new branch at Kapaun Air Station in June or July, said the garrison commander, Lt. Col. Kevin Hutchison. Another branch also is planned for Kleber Kaserne.
And the Defense Commissary Agency has signed an agreement to open a Community Bank branch inside the Vogelweh commissary, Hutchison said. But an Air Force spokesman said a final decision on that project hinges on a cost study that’s under way.
Community Bank closed its Vogelweh branch at the end of last year, and Service Credit Union plans to do the same. Their buildings are scheduled for demolition this spring to make way for the new Kaiserslautern High School complex. Both the bank and credit union have offices at Ramstein Air Base.
Also on the horizon is a Subway eatery for Kleber and Panzer kasernes, Hutchison said.
Military presenters at the town hall tried to assure those residing on Vogelweh and in surrounding communities that their concerns are being heard. Americans living in the area have grumbled about the lack of services at Vogelweh following the relocation of the base exchange and food court to the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center on Ramstein. Monday’s town hall meeting was the garrison’s third since the KMCC opened and the first at which no one aired complaints about the situation at Vogelweh.
Other changes discussed Monday:
The Pulaski shoppette has beefed up inventory, and customers may have anything in stock at the KMCC exchange delivered to Pulaski within two business days, KMCC exchange manager Tom Gross said.Parents of Department of Defense Dependents Schools children may now pay for Army and Air Force Exchange Service school lunches at the shoppette, officials said.The Kleber Kaserne shoppette has extended its hours, and the AAFES barbershop on Kapaun has expanded from three to five chairs.Congress has approved $95 million to fund a new Kaiserslautern High School and football field, along with other upgrades, at a site on Vogelweh vacated when the post exchange and food court were relocated last year.
The project will ease cramped classrooms, add a cafeteria and include a football field with a track and grandstand, according to Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe officials.
Construction on the school is slated to start in fall 2011, said Justin Ward, a spokesman for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District.
Budgeted at slightly more than $74 million, plans for the new school also call for — in addition to general-purpose classrooms — an auditorium, rooms for art, Junior ROTC, band and chorus, and culinary arts; labs for computer science, technology, television production and editing; and two gymnasiums, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.
A second project, budgeted for $19.4 million, will pay for the new high-school football field, a multipurpose room for Kaiserslautern elementary and middle schools, and a bus drop-off and loading area that will serve all three schools, DODDS-Europe spokeswoman Maggie Menzies said.
The sports field, which will include basketball courts, is expected to have the capacity to hold Europe-wide events, Ward said.
The buildings that once housed the base exchange, food court and other facilities will be demolished starting this spring, an Air Force civil engineering official said Monday at a town hall meeting in Kaiserslautern.
Traffic into Gate 5 at Vogelweh, off of B270, will be diverted around the former base exchange parking lot when construction starts, officials said. Eventually, the gate will be closed and a new gate will open at a different locaton.