CHIEVRES, Belgium - Forecasting a new outlook for the U.S. military community here, a groundbreaking ceremony was held recently for several quality-of-life projects.

The ceremony, hosted by Lt. Col. John G. Romero, ChiAfA..vres garrison commander, highlighted plans for the new $14 million ChiAfA..vres Army Lodge project, which is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and scheduled to be completed in January 2009.

"This is the beginning of a new future for ChiAfA..vres garrison," Romero said, "with more successes coming. Our primary concern in (completing) these projects is for the well-being of our servicemembers and their Families...they deserve the best."

He added that the new three-story, 95-room lodge "will help save the command money and also provide a safe and secure environment on the installation."

The lodge will come with 31 standard rooms, two handicap accessible standard rooms, two Single Soldier extended-stay rooms, 58 extended-stay family suites and two handicap accessible suites.

Each room comes with all of the standard amenities: color television, high-speed internet connections, microwave ovens, refrigerators and more, said William A. Cook Jr., general manager of the nearby Hotel Le MaisiAfA..res, where newly arrived ChiAfA..vres members currently stay.

Shovels were also turned for a new Andrews Federal Credit Union expected to open in December, along with an Army and Air Force Exchange Service car wash scheduled to open in November.

The ceremony also featured a couple of belated ribbon cuttings for the Benelux Regional Retreat Center, located on Caserne Daumerie, which opened in April, and the ChiAfA..vres Vehicle Processing Center that opened in May.

The retreat center, a $257,000 project, offers meeting rooms for groups up to 150 people and is designed specifically for small religious gatherings, but is available for conferences, staff rides and retreats as well.

As for the VPC, a $450,000 project, the move from its old site to the new one is "like going from camping to moving into a hotel," said Candice Beumier, the on-site contracting officer representative.

"We now have a waiting room for customers, Armed Forces Network television and toys for young children," she said. "Turning in a vehicle usually takes an hour to process; now those who come with their Family members don't have to worry about them being out in the weather."