Workers scrambling to fix Wiesbaden lodge defects as USAREUR move looms
August 14, 2010
WIESBADEN, Germany — Already a year behind schedule and slightly over budget, the Wiesbaden Army Lodge could open by the end of the year if construction crews can make final repairs in time.
The lodge in the Hainerberg housing area is part of a $600 million overhaul of Wiesbaden’s military communities in preparation for the arrival of the U.S. Army Europe’s headquarters, whose troops should start arriving in 2012.
A combination of construction defects and bad luck has plagued the project since construction began three years ago, pushing the $32 million projected cost to about $34 million.
For instance, a water leak last December damaged dozens of rooms on three floors of the 164-room hotel. The damage was extensive because a fitting broke on a weekend and the water kept leaking until Monday morning, said Orlando Ortiz, the Army Corps of Engineers’ project manager of the new hotel.
“Unfortunately, it was on the top floor, so water has a tendency to flow downhill and it made its way to the bottom,” said Roger Gerber, chief of the transformation stationing management office at Wiesbaden Army Airfield.
Then, as a German construction crew was close to repairing the damaged walls and flooded carpets, water leaked into an electrical panel and caused a fire in one of the rooms.
Despite the setbacks, Wiesbaden garrison officials remained optimistic that the hotel would be open in June or July, which could have given a boost to the Wiesbaden Entertainment Center, which opened its doors across the street in May.
But when Army officials and the construction crew did a joint inspection of the facility last month, multiple deficiencies such as chipped tiles and dents in the walls were found.
“A hotel this size, it starts to add up…all the sudden you have a list of 1,000 to 2,000 items,” Ortiz said.
Gerber said a lot of the repairs have been completed over the past two weeks.
“We’re not OK that it’s a year late, but to their credit they came back and put a dedicated effort into correcting it,” Gerber said.
Other projects around Wiesbaden continue on track, including what officials dub “the keystone of the whole consolidation” – a $125 million, 285,000-square-foot U.S. Army Europe Command and Battle Center, which is slated to be completed early in 2012.
Construction also is well under way on the $133 million housing project adjacent to the airfield, and upcoming projects on the airfield include a Consolidated Intelligence Center and an Information Processing Center. Future projects include school renovations, parking garages on the airfield, an inprocessing center at the site of the current post exchange, a new community center and new PX and commissary facilities.