NATICK, Mass. (Jan. 13, 2014) -- With the new year upon us, many have made resolutions to be more fit in 2014. Employees at the Natick Soldier Systems Center don't have to look far, because Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation christened a new exercise facility Jan. 10.

"The purpose (of the facility) is to provide all employees that are interested, a convenient location to work out and improve their fitness and health during their off-duty time," said Don Cannata, Family and MWR director.

"This is in line with (what) many other Army bases and private firms provide," said Cannata. "Tangible benefits that may accrue are reduced use of sick time and improved morale."

The interior of Bldg. 14 has been in the planning and renovation stages since 2012, and it represents a quantum leap in on-post exercise capability.

"Total space from the previous facility in Building 5 has increased from 1,785 square feet to 4,800 square feet," said Lt. Col. Brian Greata, USAG-Natick garrison commander.

Along with the additional space in the facility, the interior has been totally renovated with new construction. Improved natural and artificial lighting, with the additional open space, creates a lighter atmosphere than previously.

Existing exercise machines from Bldg. 5 have been moved, in addition to some new cardio and weight apparatuses.

"A significant amount of new equipment is on order, at no cost to NSSC," said Greata, adding that it would come from Headquarters IMCOM centralized bulk procurement.

Greata anticipates that the new gear will arrive by mid 2014.

"Partitions separate an open area on the left, which is being used by Family and MWR's 'Thirty Minutes to Win It' fitness classes," said Greata. "Family and MWR anticipates more class offerings for martial arts and other fitness classes in this area."

Use for these purposes frees up the former space used in the Lord Community Activity Center for other recreational programs.

Family and MWR had a soft opening of the new facility in December to ensure maximum exercise capability, and incorporated suggestions from users during that period.

A quality of life survey conducted in 2012 determined that a bigger and better equipped facility was needed.

The Family and MWR team are on hand to answer any questions and to guide employees through the new facility.