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RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Vandalism at the 350-room hotel being built at Ramstein Air Base could delay the opening of the much-anticipated lodge across the street from the air terminal.

German police and U.S. Air Force special agents are trying to determine who vandalized 200 rooms at the hotel. Air Force spokeswoman 1st Lt. Chrystal Smith said it appears the vandal or vandals used a paint roller to mark up recently finished walls and windows with dark paint. The vandalism was discovered April 17.

The Air Force could not give any additional information because the matter is under investigation, Smith said.

Requests to take photographs of the damage were denied by the Air Force. Construction continues at the site, but only authorized personnel are allowed to enter the zone, Smith said.

The Air Force is trying to determine the cost of the damage and whether it would set back a project already slightly behind schedule. Project officials were not available for comment Tuesday.

The hotel is part of a $200 million lodge and hotel complex going up within earshot of the base’s airfield. The hotel and mall, officially known as the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center, is the U.S. military’s largest single construction project under way worldwide.

The hotel was scheduled to open in late summer. Base officials hope the mall will open sometime early next year. There is no evidence of vandalism to the mall portion, according to a news release.

Officials ceremoniously broke ground on the project in December 2004 and said then that the complex would open this August.

Acquiring money, awarding contracts and designing the building took longer than initially thought, Jeff Noorda, a project manager with the 435th Civil Engineer Squadron, said in an interview earlier this year. However, he added that construction was moving quickly for a project so big.


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