Soldiers, project leaders, community leaders and Fort Huachuca tenants gathered Tuesday in celebration of the completion of Mountain Vista Communities’ Initial Project Development and the new MVC Community Center’s grand opening.
“We are very pleased to present to the Soldiers a community center that they can actually use, not to mention 201 houses and 59 renovated houses,” said Joe Gandara, project director, Michaels Military Housing. “It’s been a very good project for me as a former Soldier myself.”
The $1.6 million community center is the capstone of the MVC project on Fort Huachuca that began in 2009. Inside the 6,200-square-foot facility is a common area complete with a cyber center with free Wi-Fi and printer access, a multi-purpose room with a fully furnished kitchen that can be used for private parties or meetings, a fitness room, a tot room, a youth activity room and more.
Outside, tenants will find a seating area around the floor-to-ceiling fireplace made up of 45 tons of stone; a dog park that will be finished by the end of April; a disc-golf field; a volleyball court and a basketball court. Also, the handicap accessible playground that used to be located across the street from Burger King was relocated to the new center as well.
Rick Coffman, vice president, Castle & Cooke, played a large part in the development of the center and many of the recently built homes. In his remarks, he expressed his vision for the purpose of the center.
“We’re really proud to have been a part of this partnership. It’s a partnership whose results I think will continue for many years to enhance the lives of Soldiers who are stationed at Fort Huachuca. And that’s really the truly gratifying part of this building for us,” said Coffman.
“As beautiful and as terrific as the building looks today all shiny and new, it’s going to be orders of magnitude more impressive real soon,” he continued. “That’s when it’s going to be filled with Soldiers and their Families, children indoors and out clamoring over the playground equipment and inside young men and women meeting by the fireplace … that’s really what will bring this structure to life and what makes it the center piece of the Michaels Organization housing efforts here.”
Col. Dan McFarland, Fort Huachuca garrison commander, reminisced on his experiences growing up in a military community and how much the facilities have changed.
“Webster defines a community as a group of people who live in the same area and a group of people who have the same interest,” said McFarland. “We know what it means, but take a look around you. What you see is what really makes up a community. I like to think that if I opened up the actual dictionary I would find a picture of this beautiful building and the people sitting in the audience. It’s only fitting that we have not only the best housing in the Army, but now we have probably the best community center in the Army.”
“This isn’t your daddy’s Army; this isn’t your daddy’s housing. It’s certainly not my daddy’s Army housing,” he continued. “I certainly remember cinderblock and stairwells. What we have here at Fort Huachuca is a vast improvement in the communities I grew up in as an Army brat. I’m proud to be involved with our partners to see this great improvement. We have worked closely with Michaels to ensure your home isn’t just a word, but also the nicest place there is.”
Each organization that participated in the development of the community center received a plaque from Mountain Vista Communities as a token of their appreciation.
Concluding the ceremony, key leaders of the project cut the ribbon, signifying the official opening of the community center to the public.
Afterwards, refreshments and snacks were provided and guests were able to tour the facility. While her children enjoyed the playground, Heather Walker, an Army spouse, spoke about her favorite feature of the new facility.
“If I had to pick one it would be the fitness center with the tot room right next to it because I can go and workout and have my kids next to me. Plus, its right here on post, and it’s convenient,” said Walker.
All MVC residents will be allowed access to the community center. Beginning next week, keys will be issued and an email will be sent out explaining the process on how residents gain entry.
To reserve the multi-purpose room, residents should call 895.4058 after April 1. Please note reservations do not include the entire center, just the multi-purpose room with use of the projector, the kitchen, and the tables and chairs.