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Fitness Center upgrades, well worth the ‘weight’

U.S. Air Force Graphic by James Rainier

U.S. Air Force Graphic by James Rainier

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

The ‘heartbeat’ of Patrick AFB is now stronger.

After more than 27 months of renovations and nine different construction phases, the base’s newly transformed fitness center is 100 percent operational. 
 
“It was well worth the wait, and I am extremely pleased with the results,” Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, 45th Space Wing commander said. “The improvements have truly been a collaborative effort and I appreciate everyone’s hard work and patience.” 
 
The upgrades to the fitness center are a success because the staff and the Airmen both vocalized their ideas and input on how to make it exceptional, according to Tammy Shelley, 45th Force Support Squadron fitness and sports manager.
 
“Together, we turned ideas into a reality by properly reusing the space within DOD standards,” Shelley said. “The transformation speaks volumes to everyone’s creative ability to re-use space that was not being used to its full potential.”

For example, the outdoor space had a basketball court that could not be used due to safety reasons, and it was changed into an area called Shark Tank Combat Fitness, creating additional parameters to maximize our service members exercise experience and provide them with a variety of options, according to Shelley.
 
“The modified area now allows Airmen the room to focus on different techniques and properly work out different muscle groups,” Shelley said.
 
Not only did Airmen gain a renovated area outdoors, they also got a remodeled indoor area to help with their physical fitness requirements and expectations.
 
Inside the 49,500-square-foot facility, patrons now have access to upgraded: free weights, spin bikes and weight machines, according to Staff Sgt. Sasha Edwards, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron project manager.
 
The $1.44 million transformation also includes repairs and upgrades in the locker rooms, lobby, weight room and cardio room.
 
“A wall was also added to define the space between the weight room and the cardio room, which provides the fitness center staff with additional storage, which was desperately needed,” Edwards said. “We added new ventilation and eight new fans to promote better airflow and circulation.”
 
Step-by-step, as the upgrades became fully operational, many patrons expressed their approval that they are now able to use their time at the fitness center more efficient. 
 
“Prior to the upgrades, spin class was conducted in the aerobics room and before each class we had to get the bikes out and then put them away, which cut into our class time,” Tech. Sgt. Trisha Cook, 45th Civil Engineer Squadron dorm manager said. “Also, during the class, people would jump rope behind us, which made it really tight. Now, we have state-of-the-art bikes and a dedicated room to maximize our workout time.”
 
The upgrades to the fitness center have also made an impact with Airmen because it has an exceptional new look and feel.
 
“Our goal was to mirror off-base fitness centers and we want our patrons to take full advantage of their workout session in a sleeker environment,” Edwards said. 

Regardless of where Airmen spend time raising their heart beat, testing physical strength is, has and will continue to be a military staple – even among the cultural changes that the Air Force has seen over the years.

The building was initially built in 1941 as the Comet Club -- an Airman’s Club -- and was combined with the fitness center, and according to Edwards, the two buildings were brought together to become one facility, which we know as today’s fitness center.

“It got to a point where they kept building around it and eventually they enclosed the two buildings,” Edwards said. “Prior to the change, patrons had to go outside to exit one facility to get into the other.”

While the fitness center has seen its fair share of transformations throughout its lifespan, the main focus and primary goal today is to keep Airmen fit-to-fight and provide them with a place to conduct physical training, according to Shelley.

“We are here to support the Airmen,” said Shelley. “We have qualified staff members who can help write programs to help them reach their physical fitness goals and we also offer equipment orientation and improvement classes. In other words, we are Airmen taking care of Airmen.”
 
Eligible patrons are invited to visit the 45th Force Support Squadron Fitness Center and check out the new upgrades and overall transformation.
 
For questions or to learn more about the Patrick AFB Fitness Center, go to www.gopatrickfl.com/sports-and-fitness.html or call (321) 494-4947.

Editor’s Note: This feature is a three-part series entitled “Transformations,” highlighting Health and Wellness.