The 452nd Mission Support Group opened the doors to the newly, remodeled Grande Ballroom inside the Hap Arnold Club at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. The ballroom suffered severe water damage due to a mishap in 2011, when a sprinkler head broke and flooded the room.
“You could actually smell the floor rotting when I got here,” said Col. Timothy McCoy, Commander, 452 MSG.
The subfloor contained many longitudinal cracks which had to be stabilized before tile could be laid down. Once contractors finished stabilizing the floor, the rest of the remodel was completed by members from the 452nd Civil Engineer Squadron, McCoy said.
The CE members installed all electrical, walls, sheet rock, ceiling tile and lighting and were instrumental in bringing the building back up to code, McCoy said.
“The only original things left are the speakers and sprinkler heads.”
The remodel project gave the MSG the chance to make some fun changes to the club.
“We wanted to bring back what he (Hap Arnold) was all about. This building was named for him,” said Iris Alexander, Deputy Director, 452nd Force Support Services.
The Grande Ballroom consists of the ‘Arnold Suites,’ which are named after colleagues of Hap Arnold and include the Wright Brothers Room, Billy Mitchell Room, Amelia Earhart Room and the Roosevelt Room.
Nostalgic, framed uniforms, provided by the Blue Eagles Total Force Honor Guard, hang on the walls in the Forum room. Another new addition is a mobile, digital, self-playing Baby Grand piano, Alexander said.
“The word is getting around and we are already booking things,” said club caterer, Annette McWilliams.
The Grande Ballroom seats from 200-300, depending on room configuration, and can be rented for special events by military members or civilians. However, civilians must have a club member sponsor them and provide a guest list to Security Forces for background checks.
The 4,236-square-foot facility has an early 1900’s feel with memorabilia from Hap Arnold’s era, and offers a relaxing, leisure environment with a variety of cuisines and entertainment genres. To book an event, contact Annette McWilliams at 951-653-2121.