FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Nov. 16, 2018) -- Fort Drum community members and visiting guests have a new lodging option with the grand opening of the new Candlewood Suites hotel on post.

Officials gathered Nov. 14 to celebrate the occasion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, hosted by Lendlease - the owner and developer for the Candlewood Suites on Fort Drum - and IHG Army Hotels.

Claire Johnston, Lendlease Communities managing director, said that their mission is to build great communities for service members and their families.

"Our vision at Lendlease is to create the best places, and the lodging teams that we work with relentlessly pursues this, not only for Fort Drum and our Army partners but for every installation on which we work," she said.

The four-story, 99-room Candlewood Suites hotel was built to accommodate traveling service members, their families and all government employees. The extended-stay hotel features amenities include fully equipped kitchens and work areas in each room, business and fitness centers, laundry facilities and courtesy on-post shuttle services.

This is the second mid-sized hotel in the U.S. constructed of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) - a sustainable building product made up of several layers of lumber board stacked in alternating directions and pressed to maximize strength and durability.

"The resilient building that you are standing in was constructed from more than 1,700 pieces of sustainable engineered mass timber panels," said Johnston. "And all of the wood in the building is SFC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified, meaning that the product came from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits to the communities where the wood was harvested."

CLT was used in the hotel's floors, roof, exterior and select interior walls. Kollin Rommel, Lendlease development manager, said that four months were removed from the scheduled construction plan because of the Lendlease design model.

"In addition to the long-term sustainability benefits, the use of CLT along with other integrated construction techniques has made it possible to do more with less - to build greater efficiencies than conventional materials and methods," said Rommel. "This hotel was completed with less materials, less labor and required less time."

The hotel was assembled by a 13-person crew, composed mostly of local military veterans who were referred by the Army Soldier for Life program, Johnston said.

Framing operations began in October 2017 and were completed in March. During the construction, crew members managed to work through weather conditions that included freezing temperatures, more than 10 feet of snowfall and 18 feet of rain.

Having served at Fort Drum twice before, Col. Kenneth D. Harrison, Fort Drum garrison commander, said that what he enjoys most is getting to see the installation grow and improve. The new lodging is a prime example of that.

"I was here in the winter when this was all scaffolding and no roof, and I took a tour," he said. "I learned a lot about CLT and the innovative construction methods that were used here. But what I really learned was how to finish a project on time - you make a crew work through a brutal North Country winter and then tell them if they finish early that they don't have to work through another brutal North Country winter. And here we are now, all done."

Jordan Gillis, acting assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and the environment, said that it was his privilege to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony during his first visit to Fort Drum.

"The partnership created between the Army and Lendlease, and their partner, IHG Army Hotels, is a model that can be applied across the Department of Defense as an example of success that can be achieved when government and private sector work together," he said.