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Armed Forces Recreation Centers Expand in Florida, Germany

Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2002 – Two popular Armed Forces Recreation Center destinations are being expanded and improved for Defense Department vacationers.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
The new Armed Forces Recreation Center in Garmisch, Germany, depicted in an artist's rendering, will feature 330 rooms, covered parking, two restaurants and a 500-seat ballroom when it opens in 2004. Courtesy of the Army Community and Family Support Center.

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

German and American officials broke ground May 7 for a new 330-room hotel and conference center in Garmisch, Germany. When it opens in fall 2004, the $70 million facility will replace the World War II-era hotels currently located in Garmisch and Chiemsee.

"We're building this facility to improve our ability to take care of service members and their families," said Rick LeBrun, AFRC Europe general manager. "The new hotel will give guests larger rooms, conference space and increased security.

"This brings AFRC Europe facilities in line with all the other AFRC properties and allows us to offer truly world- class accommodations for service members stationed in Europe," said Brig. Gen. Tony Taguba, commander of the Army Community and Family Support Center, which runs the AFRC program.

Officials said the hotel is going up on the grounds of the former Sheridan Kaserne, which is a good location with regard to force protection measures. A natural tree-lined fence acts as a visual barrier, separating the property from other military community buildings, they said. Plans call for the hotel to have a 300-seat ballroom, two restaurants, a bar bistro and swimming pool.

Across the Atlantic in Buena Vista, just outside Orlando, Fla., a $94 million construction project will boost the number of guest rooms to 587 from 288 at the Shades of Green Resort at Walt Disney World.

Jim McCrindle, Shades of Green general manager, said other changes guests will see when the hotel reopens in fall 2003 are a multilevel covered parking garage, a 500-seat ballroom, banquet capability, a Tuscan Italian restaurant, and a new family-style restaurant.

The projects are funded by a commercial loan, the first such loan ever made to the Army and its Community and Family Support Center. No taxpayer or soldier dollars are being used for either, Army officials said.

The Army operates Armed Forces Recreation Centers as the Department of Defense's executive agent.

(From an Army Community and Family Support Center release.)

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