WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii -- The new Hangar Entertainment Center celebrated its grand opening, Dec. 2, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, free bowling, refreshments and giveaways for approximately 60 Soldiers, civilians and family members.

Formerly known as the Wheeler Bowling Center, the new center is a total transformation of the old-school bowling alley that had closed its doors for months.

The grand opening celebration of the Hangar Recreation Center kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The extensive renovation was planned by Army interior designers from Installation Management Command headquarters at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and cost a total of $1.7 million in non-appropriated funds.

Extensive renovation
The state-of-the-art center now features four bowling lanes, two pool tables, a foosball table, video games, nine television screens, two projector screens, a bar and dining section that seats up to 50, and an outdoor dining patio.

Bowlers can now enjoy comfortable streamlined sofas in the bowling area, and top-quality materials have been implemented throughout the facility, including sparkling blue granite banisters and counters and ceiling fans and lights that are reminiscent of helicopter propellers.

Even the chairs have been designed to look like cockpit chairs, and the kitchen and restrooms have also been redone.

Set up with an aviation theme because of the base's history, the Hangar Entertainment Center's renovation was implemented with young Soldiers in mind.

"We'd been receiving feedback from Soldiers who live here and said they didn't have enough to do in their free time. Some Soldiers who don't have vehicles stay in the barracks and end up feeling depressed.

We want to draw them out into a social setting -- give them a place to hang out," explained David N. Roudybush, deputy director, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.

The Center serves as an attractive place where patrons meet to bowl, dine and have fun in their free time. Families, children and civilians are welcome, but the Center is mainly intended for use by Soldiers.

"We're trying to listen to the community and give them what they want," Roudybush added.
The bowling alley at Schofield Barracks, which is intended for family use, is also scheduled for a full renovation that should take place within two years.