LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas —
The Lackland landscape seems to transition daily as new buildings under construction begin to rise, renovated buildings reopen and older structures are demolished.
The Inns of Lackland are undergoing their own transition but it's a different kind -interior makeovers. It's a continuing project that goes unnoticed from the outside until a guest walks through one of the properties' lobbies or swings open the door to a newly renovated room.
"Every year we are renovating properties as part of an ongoing program," said Re Zander, The Inns of Lackland assistant general manager.
The Lackland hotel properties are in the midst of multi-million dollar renovations ranging from partial or total room renovations to the installation of a new phone system with wireless Internet.
For fiscal year 2010, $7.7 million was spent renovating 11 of the 44 buildings under The Inns of Lackland umbrella. All of the properties - Gateway Inn, Gateway Villa, Gateway Lodge, Kelly Inn at Port San Antonio and Patriot Inn at Camp Bullis - have been a part of the project.
In addition to those makeovers, a separate $10 million, two-year venture is underway to install the upgraded phone system in each of the 2,583 rooms.
"The money we generate goes right back into the rooms," Mrs. Zander said. "It goes into upgrading and keeping up with (the latest technology)."
She said all Lackland rooms have chairs recovered, damaged lamps replaced, and new carpet, draperies, and bedspreads installed every six years; rooms are completely renovated every 12 years. Along with the soft materials, painting and new furniture are a part of the 12-year makeovers.
Sixty rooms at the Gateway Inn and 12 at the Patriot Inn were whole-room renovations this year, and the rest were décor remodels. Also included in current makeovers were dehumidifiers, new refrigerators and microwave ovens or micro fridge units, and flat screen television sets.
Gateway Lodge and Gateway Inn received the bulk of the remodels. More than $2.6 million was spent on the lobby and 218 rooms at Gateway Lodge, $2 million on the lobby and 102 rooms at Gateway Inn, $1.3 million on the lobby and 116 rooms at Gateway Villa, $1.5 million on 125 rooms at Kelly Inn, and $300,000 on 12 rooms at Patriot Inn.
This year's expenditure follows a $2.3 million disbursement in FY 2009; another $3.7 million has been allocated for FY 2011.
"We want our customers to be comfortable and have the amenities they need," Mrs. Zander said.
The Inns of Lackland cater to a diverse customer base. While its customers are mostly military who are temporarily deployed or students at Lackland, the hotel properties also house the 433rd Airlift Wing and 149th Fighter Wing Reserve components on Reserve weekends.
When available - the properties average a 95 percent occupancy rate - Lackland hotels also provide lodging for friends and family of basic military training graduates, medical evacuees, wounded warriors and retirees using medical facilities.
The Air Force Services Agency, which oversees government lodging accommodations, funded the projects. The Inns of Lackland combined have the most rooms and generate the most revenue in the government lodging program.