JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. –
Joint Base Andrew's West Fitness Center recently updated gym amenities with help from the Commander in Chief's Annual Award for Installation Excellence funding.
The West Fitness center is scheduled to receive a new front lobby, energy efficient windows, stylized locker rooms, a heating and cooling system, a gym curtain divider, batting cages, a refinished basketball court and 24-hour security cameras in the near future.
"I felt like a kid in a candy store the first time I was able to use the new equipment," Senior Airman Chris Leahy, 89th Communications Squadron government network operations center operator and fitness center patron said. "I love the new gym; it brings a great new atmosphere. It motivates us night shift workers to get an overall better workout during unmanned hours."
More than 215 lifting, cardio and plate-loaded work-out machines were purchased.
"The new equipment is a nice addition, it gives us a lot of different avenues and angles to [train] muscles," Tech Sgt. Miguel Landeros, 11th Civil Engineer Squadron airfield maintenance pavement supervisor and fitness center patron said.
The fitness center staff implemented approximately $1 million from Air Force funding in renovations after six months of planning, conducting market research and receiving suggestions from customers.
"We truly listen to our customers' ideas and suggestions to better improve the fitness center." Isaac Melendez, JBA Fitness Center fitness and sports director said. "It's been about five years since the equipment was last replaced and the center was in need of a serious face lift."
The fitness center's "face lift" is a direct result of JBA personnel's work efforts.
Upon JBA winning the CINC award this past year, $30,000 of the base-wide awarded funds were allocated towards the fitness center equipment.
"The money that comes with this award goes straight back to the men, women and families that made it possible," Col. Brad Hoagland, JBA/11th Wing commander said. "I am truly impressed with the hard work and teamwork I've seen. It has not gone unnoticed."
The highly competitive, presidential-level award recognizes the outstanding efforts of the people who operate and maintain U.S. military installations, while encouraging commanders to create an environment promoting creative ways to enhance base-level services, facilities and quality of life.
"It was nice to see the vision come together," Landeros, also a volunteer for the renovation, said. "A group of guys stopped their workout to come help move around the equipment, it gave a good feel of the camaraderie this fitness center puts together."
Melendez said the upgrade is motivating.
"It makes me want to go out and get more money for [the customers] and get ready for another purchase," said Melendez. "You can't go wrong when the entire base is supporting you."
The East Side Fitness Center is also slated to receive new equipment and will be closed 12 and 13 Jan., 2016. Patrons will need to register their IDs for their unmanned after-hours access to the East's fitness center system.