Richard Melson

August 2006

Hotel Al Rasheed Baghdad

wpe1.jpg (13216 bytes)

www.grd.usace.army.mil

Tommy.G.Clarkson@tac01.usace.army.mil

For Immediate Release

July 29, 2006

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Al Rasheed Hotel work continues

by Norris Jones

Gulf Region Central District

US Army Corps of Engineers

Baghdad, Iraq— He’s been responsible for a variety of reconstruction efforts in Iraq – building sewers and water lines, electrical distribution networks, and roads.

But project engineer Ross Warner says his work on Baghdad’s most-famous hotel has been both his biggest challenge and most rewarding experience during his six-month tour.

"I’m proud of the progress we were able to achieve on the Al Rasheed Hotel," said Warner on his final day in Iraq. "I plan to return in September to see the project finished." Warner and his team of a half-dozen Iraqi engineers are part of Gulf Region Central District’s International Zone office. He says the $5.8 million renovation should be completed before the end of the year.

That work includes renovating over 400 hotel rooms and associated facilities including a new air conditioning system, repairs to the roof, electrical, plumbing and wastewater lines, and a new fire alarm system. One of the interesting facts about the facility is that when it was built in 1982 (during the Iran-Iraq war), bullet-proof glass was used in all windows. For windows that now need replaced, those same specifications are required by the contract..

"Ensuring that all partners were in agreement (regarding certain essential decisions) required patience and understanding," Warner explained, "whether that involved the Ministry of Tourism, the hotel staff, or various U.S. military entities."

Warner notes that when the hotel was constructed 24 years ago, it was a 5-star world-class facility. "The Iraqis justifiably want to ensure there are no shortcuts and the Al Rasheed retains its luster and reputation as a high quality facility." He says the work is currently 60 percent finished. "Three of the 14 floors have been totally renovated and turned over, four are close to being completed. And the big job of rebuilding the hotel’s infrastructure is done.

"I’m pleased with the work we’ve accomplished so far. I look forward to the day when the hotel is completely restored."

Warner has worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a quarter-century, the same length of time he’s drilled as an Army Reservist. In 2003, he was recalled to active duty for a year in Kuwait as a Sergeant First Class where he worked at Camp Arifjan for the base’s Department of Public Works writing scopes of work, conducting project inspections, and contract administration.

"That’s one of the main reasons I wanted to come to Iraq. I had heard from others about their experiences and I wanted to see Baghdad first-hand. What we’re involved with here is a part of history. I’m glad I could contribute."

He says his family has been very supportive. He and his wife Virginia have been married 37 years. They have four children. Ross is a Civil Engineer Technician with USACE’s Savannah District and is based at Ft. Bragg, NC.

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Note:  For additional information contact Norris Jones, Public Affairs Specialist at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Central District, at (540) 542-2644.

Email requests can be sent to Norris.Jones@tac01.usace.army.mil.

For more information on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq,

visit www.grd.usace.army.mil.

CUTLINES

Al Rasheed Hotel (GRD photo)

Project Engineer Ross Warner

All:

Not only is it open for business,

we invite any/all of you to come over for a tour!!!!

Tom Clarkson

LTC, Army (Ret)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,

Gulf Region Division

Public Affairs Office

Commercial: (540) 665-5344

Iraqna: 0790-192-5759

Visit: www.grd.usace.army.mil/index.html

"To make a difference, dare to be different."

Al Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad's Internatinal Zone Open for Business

Attachment:

AlRasheedHotel2.doc (0.24 MB), AlRasheedxx.jpg (0.36 MB), 0006good.jpg (0.18 MB)

Clarkson, Tommy G GRD Tommy.G.Clarkson@tac01.usace.army.mil

Monday, August 14, 2006