FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility reopened its racquetball courts, locker rooms and indoor pool June 27.

The opening of these parts of the facility are part of renovations designed to make the center a more modern, comfortable place to work out and improve Soldiers’ and Family members quality of life, according to Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation officials.

The indoor pool is now open Mondays-Fridays from 5:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for fitness swimming and military training only.

Recreational swimming is available at Splash! Pool. Additionally, the Flynn Pool hours have changed to Mondays-Fridays from 5:30-7:30 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.

In addition to the openings, patrons will find that the basketball courts are now air conditioned with three high-school sized basketball courts and one full regulation size court. The building was built at a time when the Army would not allow air conditioning in a major gymnasium, said Ken Jackson, community recreation division chief said.

“What you walk into now is a comfortable, 1,400 square foot facility,” he said.

A new roof, new paint and a newly designed air conditioning system are what most people are going to notice first, said Lori Ciranni, sports fitness and aquatics manager said.

“Because it’s such a new, fresh look, it’s going to draw people in, which will get them working out, which will in turn better their lives,” she said. “Please come down and check it out. The racquetball courts are beautiful. The pool is beautiful. It is just awesome.”

In addition to these changes, patrons can now work out in newly designed cardio and weight areas. Many upgrades are noticeable throughout the rooms, Jackson said.

“A special flooring system has been put in place. A sound baffling system has been put on the walls and floor electrical outlets have been installed that feed the cardio machines. And there is a new system of TVs across the wall,” he said.

He pointed out that the facility was designed so that people can select strength equipment, cardiovascular equipment, dumbbells and free weights. A noticeable feature of the free weight area is the many mirrors on the walls. Jackson explained that there are so many mirrors in the newly renovated room because patrons want to make sure they have proper alignment when using weights.

He added that there was no need for a grand opening because the facility has not really been closed during the renovations.

“As each stage of the project is completed, we open it up,” he said.

The Physical Fitness Facility has historically been the most popular MWR facility on Fort Rucker, he said.

“This facility averages, Monday through Friday, every day of operation, 1,200 to 1,600 patrons. And on Saturdays and Sundays, where you have reduced operational hours, it averages 900 to 1,100,” Jackson said.

Jackson does not anticipate an effect on the Fortenberry-Colton Fitness Facility as the renovated areas begin to open.

“That facility has only seen an average increase of a few hundred patrons a day throughout these renovations,” he said, adding that the reason for this is that the renovations were staggered, and the equipment was just moved to a new location in the building while the old area was being upgraded.

Throughout the renovations and upgrades, patrons still used the fitness center, and they were just in for a pleasant surprise as each area was completed.

The “new” doesn’t just stop when the workout is over. The locker rooms have been reworked as well. The area has new lockers, sauna and steam rooms, and of course everything is handicapped accessible, Jackson said.

The pool has been redesigned from a new floor, to avoid slipping, to a new diving board and new starting blocks. There is new glass on the windows and a new air circulation system to pull the chlorine out of the air. One thing that hasn’t changed is the 18- to 20"year-old palm tree on the sunbathing deck, said Jackson.

Jackson says plans are in the works for hourly child care.

Page last updated Fri July 1st, 2011 at 12:28