As part of the base’s ongoing commitment to improve the quality of life for the Edwards community and keep its personnel “Fit to Fight,” the final installment of a series of minor upgrades to the fitness center facilities came to fruition June 4.
“It’s always a challenge when completing something like this. Once you have a vision of what you would like to do, you have to get from point A to point B, so there’s a lot of planning involved and then you have to find the funding to be able to meet those goals,” said Pete Smith, 95th Force Support Squadron Edwards Fitness and Sports Center director. “With that said, this has been ongoing for four years now. When I first arrived here I knew what my leadership’s vision was and what my vision was and we started moving in that direction.”
“Along with the renovation of the main fitness center’s roof and installation of a new heating and cooling system, we remind folks that the aerobic center, PT pads, par course, the softball field, the running trail, the 18-hole disc golf course, outdoor hockey rink, outdoor basketball courts and two outdoor sand volleyball courts were all a part of this initiative to provide the base populace top notch equipment and top notch programming,” said Smith.
Despite a 5 a.m. wake-up call, a crowd of eager fitness enthusiasts were in attendance to witness the Air Force Flight Test Center commander, Edwards base leadership, and fitness center employees to commemorate the grand opening of the new Hi-Intensity and Free Weight area with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. In addition to housing free weights, the new facility will house bench presses and high intensity workout equipment and act as additional workout space for Team Edwards, freeing up room in the main fitness facility for more cardiovascular machines and indoor intramural sports programs, according to Smith.
“This is a great quality of life improvement for Edwards and great local solution to our fitness campus needs. Having one of the oldest fitness centers in the active duty Air Force inventory that was built in 1953, we’ve about used the life of the main structure and we really needed to improve our fitness facilities, but because of the funding situation being the way it is, this was definitely a good short-term solution,” said Brig. Gen. Robert C. Nolan II, AFFTC commander. “I just want to thank the men and women who did this work for us and stood this beautiful facility up. I’m also glad that we could finally cut the ribbon, get in and have a great workout.”
“The old weight room area was so crammed and with this new facility everything is a lot less cluttered and more spacious,” said Staff Sgt. Cody Briggs, 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron heavy maintenance technician. “The fact that the base is putting this in here shows that they’re investing in the fitness needs of its Airmen. Hopefully, we can take care of it and keep it around.”
“With the new Air Force Physical Fitness Test standards, we needed to be able to provide our military and the community with the best equipment in order to best meet their physical fitness needs,” said Smith. As for what it took to get this latest renovation completed in a line of multiple fitness amenities, Smith said there were a lot of entities that were involved during the restoration of the old gym and the building process of the new facility.
“After the groundbreaking ceremony in November, the 95th Civil Engineering Division and ACE Engineering really made sure things were researched and taken care of at the ground level; the 95th Communications Squadron ensured we had the connectivity and the Contracting Directorate oversaw the financial aspect, so it’s been a group effort all along from start to finish,” added Smith. “We also had quite a few volunteers that came by and helped us move the existing equipment into the new facility before the grand opening. We had about 21 military volunteers along with our fitness and sports center personnel who really helped out, so it saved a lot of dollars and a lot of man hours.”
“Team Edwards is fortunate to have a fitness visionary like Mr. Pete Smith”, said Schwab. “Pete used his years of experience to develop a series of targeted upgrades, used his contacts to secure support and funding for these initiatives, and used his enthusiasm to ensure the end result was an undeniable home run!
“One of the key components of this plan came from General Nolan.” According to Schwab, “it was after his TDY to Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and using their temporary workout facility, General Nolan became a passionate advocate for this ingenious solution here. This temporary facility is a critical bridge until a new and permanent Fitness Center can be built. We are very excited at what the team was able to accomplish but we will remain laser focused in our efforts with Air Force Materiel Command, Air Staff, and Congressional engagement on ultimately securing a new Air Force Standard 72,000 square foot fitness facility.”
For more information on fitness facilities and programs available at Edwards, contact the Rosburg Fitness Center at (661) 277-5961.