Fort Belvoir, Va. (Feb. 27, 2014) - The highly anticipated Kawamura Human Performance Center officially opened its doors with a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house Monday.

More than 100 Fort Belvoir servicemembers and civilians visited the facility to check out the new equipment, meet the staff, learn about the many workout programs the KHPF will offer and sign up for the introductory course required of all patrons before using the new center.

Col. Gregory D. Gadson, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Belvoir commander, provided opening remarks before cutting the ribbon with Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation officials and KHPC staff members.

"This is a big event to celebrate the grand opening of this new facility," Gadson said. "It's impressive that we could use an existing facility to meet the needs of our community and we're really proud of it."

Gadson added that the specialized programs available at the new fitness center represent a major step forward for the installation.

"With the Kawamura Human Performance Center we begin a new phase of strength training and physical conditioning and we're really happy to have it here on beautiful Fort Belvoir," he said.

According to Sheila Edwards, Fort Belvoir sports director, the center will offer servicememembers and civilians who live, work and play on post a state-of-the-art fitness facility containing unique workout equipment not previously available on the installation.

"This facility focuses more on high-intensity functional training, along with elements of CrossFit. A lot of people want that and this will fill that niche," she said. "There's also a lot of non-traditional equipment here -- a Jacob's Ladder, versa-climbers, and adaptive motion trainers that the military really likes because you can load those with weights like the loads you would carry downrange, about 80 pounds. And these machines will calculate that automatically. They help you train to get stronger and faster. We think people are really going to like this new equipment."

The Kawamura Human Performance Center will also offer training programs in a group setting, Edwards said.

"We'll offer CrossFit classes, maybe four a day, with maybe 12 people in them," she said. "It will still be self directed."

Patrons must take a mandatory introductory class which outlines the basics of CrossFit training and provides trainers with an opportunity to evaluate each individual's starting level of fitness.

"We begin the course by giving individuals a flexibility test; this allows us to determine how flexible a person is, in the upper and lower body regions," said KHPC trainer, Nickolas Jackson.

As part of the "Corrective Exercise Screen" and the Pentagon's ?'Fit to Win' program, the flexibility test is a series of body movement patterns conducted by a fitness specialist who will put individuals through an array of movements, ranging from overhead squats and inline lunges to abdominal core workouts and dynamic flexibility exercises. From this evaluation appropriate strengthening and flexibility exercises can be recommended.

The Kawamura Human Performance Center aims to provide a wider range of services to the growing fitness-minded demographic on post, Edwards said, adding that she was impressed with Monday's turnout and number of military personnel who came out for the grand opening.

"It's great to see so many Soldiers come out today," she said. "Our primary job is to support Soldiers."

The new facility promises to be a very popular addition to Belvoir's existing fitness programs, said Lt. Col. Brian Zarchin, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Belvoir Headquarters Battalion commander.

"This is a nice, simple facility that's had a quick turnaround," he said. "I'm going to try to get (Headquarters) Battalion (personnel) in here every Friday."

The first CrossFit introductory classes begin today and the center's operating hours will be 5:30 a.m. -- 8 p.m. seven days a week.

For more information regarding the KHPC call Sheila Edwards at (703) 806-4647.