News: Fitness center renovation nears completion
Story by Staff Sgt. David Chapman
JOINT BASE LEWIS MCCHORD, Wash. -Jensen Fitness Center has been closed for remodeling since December 2010, now over a year later; the completion of the two million dollar renovation is in sight.
The sounds of hammers and saws will soon be replaced with that of pumping iron and workout classes as the Jensen Fitness Center prepares to open its doors this spring. For now, work continues so that the facility will make its April grand reopening.
Jensen Fitness Center has been closed for remodeling since December 2010, now over a year later; the completion of the $2 million renovation is in sight.
"We are planning to have the grand opening around the first of April and visitors will see the changes," said Minerva Hohaia, Jensen Fitness Center facility manager. "All the machines in this facility will be brand new. The flooring in the aerobics room, the sound system and the surface of the track have all been redone. The most notable change will be we moved the child care facility from the back of the building to the front and enclosed it."
Despite Joint Base Lewis-McChord having multiple fitness centers on post, this will be the most up-to-date facility in the group and will specifically target families and dependents.
"This fitness center will cater more to the spouses of JBLM," said Hohaia. "More importantly, this will offer a good opportunity for a husband and wife to work out together and have the children taken care of safely."
As with all large scale renovations and the goal of maintaining historical integrity everything is done to keep the work on schedule. But as with most projects, delays can occur.
"While CoE [Corps of Engineers] strives to always work ahead of schedule, as with any construction on an existing facility, especially a historic facility, many unforeseen site conditions are encountered," said Jodie Ramsey, Directorate of Public Works, JBLM. "A construction timeline is only an estimate assuming you know all the conditions. For a building of this age, as-built drawings, when they exist, don't always show everything and in this instance demolition exposed several unforeseen site conditions, which had to be addressed and funded thus extending the construction performance period."
For some, the changes to the gym leave little memory of what Jensen Fitness Center used to be.
"Due to moving the child care facility to the front of the fitness center, there will not be any basketball courts available," said Hohaia. "Also in the past, child care was free at the facility. Now because of budget cuts there will be a $4 fee, per child, per visit. It is a change from the original system, but you can't get it any cheaper off-post where it is usually more expensive."
The reopening will not only allow for another exercise location, but it will also be the home of wellness resources for soldiers and their families.
"The new facility will have our wellness clinic where people can go and have health assessments, Gait Analysis and body fat evaluations done," said Hohaia. "They will even teach shoe clinics at the center so people can determine which shoe is proper for them."
Finally, after all the dust settles and brand new fixtures are in place, the long awaited grand reopening will allow service members and their families to enjoy the newest addition to the fitness options that JBLM has to offer.
"The public will be amazed at how much light renovating the windows and interior lighting will provide," said Ramsey.
"Uncovering the windows and making them operational will allow for cross ventilation and a great view for runners on the track. Additionally, the revamped aerobics room and newly constructed child care facility will make everyone want to visit Jensen."