WIESBADEN, Germany - Spc. Alexander Eaton had his 12-year-old Audi 80 in mind as he attended the grand opening of the new Wiesbaden Automobile Skills Center.

"It's an older vehicle, and I'll be in here a lot," Eaton said. "I have to replace the antifreeze, and I have a half shaft that I have to fix. It's close to the base, and it definitely seems nicer."

Eaton was one of about 100 people who attended the grand opening May 7 at the facility, which includes 10 vehicle bays, tool kits for each bay and a car wash - to name a few of the highlights. In addition to a ribbon cutting ceremony, free food and a disc jockey, staff members led people on tours of the facility and explained some of the new equipment.

"People love the Auto Skills Center, and they will love this one event more," said Col. David Carstens, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander, during his remarks before the ribbon cutting. "It provides more capability in an area that is perhaps a little more convenient for a lot of our Soldiers to get to here on the north side."

The facility is also efficient in terms of heating, so it will use less energy, Carstens said. In addition, it has measures that will ensure that hazardous waste is disposed of in the best way possible.

The skills center is a sign of continuing transformation in Wiesbaden, Carstens said. The garrison also plans to build ball fields on the north side.

Carstens presented Joe Cooper, an employee at the center, with an Achievement Medal for Civilian Service. Cooper has demonstrated excellence as an auto skills instructor at the Mainz Kastel facility, Carstens said.

Lt. Col. Michelle Garcia, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Europe District, presented a construction plaque with a key to the garrison. The corps has a tradition of providing a shovel at the groundbreaking and a key at grand openings, she said.

Richard Babcock, director of the skills center, said that in addition to the bays, the new center includes equipment to fix suspensions, alignments, brakes and air conditioners. There is also an underbody wash capability, and the lifts are better than at the old facility.

The facility is located on the north side of the Clay Kaserne airfield, and to get there people must go through Erbenheim. The easiest way to find it is to put Rennbahn Strasse 12, 65205 Erbenheim into a GPS or Google Maps, Babcock said.

The facility is located in Building 3500, and people can call mil 337-6679 or civ (0611) 705 6679 for more information. The facility is closed Mondays, but is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; noon to 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information about services, people can visit http://wiesbaden.armymwr.com/index.php/europe/wiesbaden/programs/wiesbaden-automotive-skills.