Lodging facility nears completion at Fort Lee

FT. LEE, VA (WWBT) - For the first time, we're getting a look inside a massive multi-million dollar lodging facility at Fort Lee.

The project is on schedule and under budget. The exterior of the building is pretty much finished. Construction crews are putting on, what's being called, the final touches.

There is a lot of activity in the lobby of the lodging facility. Walls need to go up in some areas and miles of wiring are being worked on. Flooring is finished in some spots but not in others.

"900 rooms will be extended stay rooms - a little over 300 square feet and we have one hundred guest rooms which are about 500 square feet," said Paul Heilman, representative for Fort Lee.

In July of 2010 crews broke ground on the 23 acre site. Now, the facility is nearly 75% finished. There's two miles of hallway space in the building.

It's seven stories high and will house some 1500 soldiers in training.

"We have a lot of the training missions for ordinance and quartermaster and transportation - so with the additional students and average daily load of 2,700 to 3,000 we needed a place for them to stay that's convenient," said Heilman.

Not everyone was on board with the structure being built.

Many local hotel owners voiced concern that the mega-hotel on post -- would cause them to lose money.

"There's still going to be a lot of capacity for the local community to house our soldiers," said Heilman.

The post has doubled in size under the base closure and realignment process.

It will be the Army's largest lodging facility in the Continental U.S.

The lodging facility is expected to be move-in ready in June.

The price tag for the project --- $86 million -- that's down from an initial projected cost of $115 million.

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