WIESBADEN, Germany - The Wiesbaden military community celebrated its latest quality-of-life improvement -- the opening of the Wiesbaden Army Wellness Center -- Nov. 1 on Clay Kaserne.

"As a garrison commander in one of the Army's most rapidly transforming communities, I've had the opportunity to cut a lot of ribbons and dig lots of holes in the ground," said Col. David Carstens, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden commander. "Without question, no ribbon cutting done on my watch will have meant more to obtaining the wellness of our force in Wiesbaden than this one today."

The $400,000 renovation project, which saw the relocation of Heidelberg's Wellness Center to Wiesbaden, supports the Army's Ready and Resilient Campaign. It will provide Soldiers, civilians and family members with health assessments, tools and education aimed at improving their overall health and readiness.

Calling the Wellness Center opening "a critical milestone," Lt. Col. Michael Hughes, Wiesbaden Health Clinic commander, said the facility expands local health care by focusing on improving the lives of military health care recipients.

"Our average Soldiers and family members come to our health clinics approximately five times a year, or approximately 100 minutes. The other 525,000 minutes throughout the year we are all making choices that affect our short-term and long-term health," Hughes said, "for better and for worse.

"The Army Wellness Center Wiesbaden is this community's newest resource that will empower people to build, sustain and manage their health through individualized plans to achieve behavioral change and ultimately improve their health," he added.

Enhancing sleep, activity and nutrition are among the cornerstones of the Surgeon General's strategy, Hughes said, explaining that changing lifestyles as part of an overall effort to prevent future health concerns is the ultimate goal.

"Army Wellness Center offer services that help achieve lifestyle change to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and stroke," he said.

The Wellness Center can help unit leaders by conducting onsite unit assessments aimed at improving strength, flexibility and cardio-respiratory fitness. It also offers Soldiers stress management tools, Carstens said, such as biofeedback to teach individuals how to control their stressors effectively, wellness coaching to help set realistic goals and sleep education classes.

"The center will provide metabolic testing and basic nutrition education," Carstens explained, and it will help individuals identify health risk factors and provide tools and education to address those reducing the negative impact.

Army Wellness Center services are also available to retirees, officials said.

The center's six core programs include a health assessment review, physical fitness, healthy nutrition, stress manage, general wellness and tobacco education. Center staff members take a holistic approach when serving clients taking into account all of the individual's physical, psychological and social circumstances.

The 3,000-square-foot facility is staffed by nurse and health educators. Referrals can be made by medical providers or unit commanders and self-referrals are always welcome, officials said.

The Wiesbaden Army Wellness Center, located in Building 1201 on Clay Kaserne (above the Warrior Transition Unit), is open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To make an appointment call mil 337-6816 or civ (0611) 705-6816.