Wing opens new, larger fitness center on base

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Courtney Enos
  • 161st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
The 161st Air Refueling Wing commemorated the official opening of the base's new stand-alone fitness center with a ribbon cutting ceremony here May 2.

This is the first ever stand-alone fitness center built on an Air National Guard base after the base's original construction. 

Less than six months ago, contractors broke ground on the 2,400 square-foot fitness center that will accommodate almost twice as many Airmen as the previous facility.

The wing's deputy base civil engineer, 1st Lt. Jonathan Stratton, led the project. He seized the opportunity to secure funding, designs and construction bids, all within the same fiscal year--a task some said would be impossible to achieve.

"The most difficult part of this entire project was getting everyone to believe this could be a reality," said Stratton. "Ninety percent of the challenges occur before the digging even begins. Milestones, from design to contracting and construction, had to be met by the entire team in order to meet our accelerated design schedule. We saved two months [time] by using an over-the-shoulder design schedule in which [the National Guard Bureau] approved our design plans the same day."

Lt. Col. Eric Queddeng, 161st Civil Engineer Squadron commander, said it was the design schedule that really made the difference.

"In my 16 years [in the Air Force], I've never seen a project of this magnitude come together in such a short amount of time," said Queddeng. "To be designed, funded for construction, and finished in the same fiscal year is incredible. Lieutenant Stratton did a phenomenal job executing this project, along with force support, contracting, comptrollers, wing leadership and the entire CE squadron. It truly was a team effort."