SAGAMIHARA FAMILY HOUSING AREA, Japan (July 17, 2012) -- A new complex featuring a restaurant, bar, digital-projection 3D movie theater and library opened for business July 13 following a ribbon-cutting ceremony here.

The Community Recreation Center at Sagamihara Family Housing Area replaces older versions of the aforementioned facilities on the installation -- with state-of-the-art upgrades, in many cases -- and consolidates them at a single site.

Opening-day festivities at the included a free sampling of food from the Pacific Rim restaurant, an open-house viewing of the library, and a costume contest in conjunction with the theater's debut theatrical showing, "The Amazing Spider-man," in 3D.

The ribbon was cut by the managers of each facility in the center, the directors of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Directorate of Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation, and the commander and command sergeant major of U.S. Army Garrison Japan.

"This event is a great day for the SHA community," said Col. Eric D. Tilley after the ribbon-cutting. "It's been many, many years in the making and it's just a reinforcement of what a wonderful place this is to work and live each and every day."

The restaurant features family-style dining and a menu of entrees, appetizers and drinks from both the U.S. and Japan, said MWR Director John Shoda. Also included are six tables equipped with built-in gas grills in the center, which allows for a unique, do-it-yourself Japanese barbecue experience known as "yakiniku."

Located next to the restaurant is the Blue Moon bar, which features U.S. and Japanese draft selections.

The movie theater has a seating capacity of 246 and is equipped with a digital projector and surround sound. The expanded concession stand features smoothies and milkshakes in addition to standard movie-snack fare such as buttered popcorn, hot dogs, nachos, candy and fountain drinks.

Community member Christopher Hayes secured his place at the front of the line for the opening movie a few hours before the facility's grand opening.

"I had to be the first in line so my son could see 'Spider-man,'" said Hayes. "I'm really excited that this theater will have 3D."

Hayes had an opportunity to see the inside of the entire complex prior to its opening and said it will be a positive addition to the community that will allow families to spend time together in a place located right on the installation.

"It's better than what I thought it was going to be, and it actually got [built] pretty quickly," said Hayes.

The library is twice the size of the one it replaced and features a massive selection of books, periodicals, DVDs and Blu-rays for checkout, a viewing room, and Internet-accessible computer stations. Free, commercial Wi-Fi is expected to be available by September, Shoda said.

The opening of the Community Recreation Center came just a few weeks after the opening of the new School Age Care facility on SHA. Other future construction initiatives on the installation include a new outdoor swimming pool, gymnasium and family housing units, Tilley said during his remarks.

Page last updated Mon July 16th, 2012 at 23:53