By Calun Reece, Fort Riley Public AffairsJune 22, 2012
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Fort Riley will soon have a Candlewood Suites on post that is scheduled to open in the fall 2013.
A groundbreaking ceremony took place June 12 to mark the official start of the construction for the hotel.
The building of the hotel is made possible through the partnership of the Privatization of Army Lodging, Lend Lease, or PAL, and InterContinental Hotels Group.
"I've been with Lend Lease since 2008, and I'm very proud to be a part of this program and the effect that we see on a daily basis of the service that we're bringing to our military service men and women, and I really appreciate the teamwork that has been created between the Army, ourselves and IHG. It really has been incredible," said Jim Wickenheiser, director of development, lodging, Lend Lease (US) Public Partnerships.
The hotel will provide all the amenities guests would find off the installation at any IHG hotel. IHG hotels include Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.
Some of the amenities include a swimming pool, fitness center, business center and a hot breakfast.
A shuttle service also will be provided for military guests of the hotel to get around the installation, Wickenheiser said.
"These hotels are really designed for long-term stay guests and have fully equipped kitchens, large work areas, great rooms, lending libraries and our Candlewood cupboards, which allow Soldiers and their Families to get last-minute items when they're staying with us as our guest," said Arthur Holst, vice president of operations, IHG.
Twenty-one installations are involved in the PAL program. The purpose of the program is to improve the accommodations of Army hotels for Soldiers and their Families, Wickenheiser said.
"The PAL program is providing a consistent approach across all Army installations on the standards of the accommodations. So (Soldiers and Families) can fully expect wherever they go, wherever they have their duty, or wherever they (permanently change station) to, when they stay at an IHG Army hotel, they will have all the amenities that they would have outside the gate," Wickenheiser said.
Creating these hotels is one way to give back to the Soldiers and their Families for their service, Wickenheiser said.
"We're providing better accommodations for the Soldiers, so when they're here -- the average length of stay could be two weeks and some locations up to a year -- they're basically living out of a hotel room, and so we're trying to provide the best possible accommodations for the Soldiers that we can," Wickenheiser said.