By Ms. Elyssa Vondra (Fort Jackson)October 4, 2018
The old Officer's Club on Semmes Road was reopened and renamed "Victory Hall" in a ribbon cutting ceremony Sept. 27. The grand opening ceremony showed off the building's new decor and showcased options from its updated, healthy menu.
The 282nd Army Band rallied for the event, and Brig. Gen. Milford H. "Beags" Beagle Jr. and Col. Stephen Elder welcomed the public.
"The projects has been in the works since January," Elder said. Fort Jackson was one of the last installations with Officer's Clubs. This effort was a means of modernization, Beagle explained.
"We remain relevant," he added, saying the public was going to be "blown away" by the results.
The new name comes from the building's association with Victory Field, where Change of Command ceremonies take place, said Carole Coveney, general manager of the Fort Jackson club systems.
Aesthetic improvements were just part of the hall's revamp.
"We took it from dated and dark to upscale," Coveney said.
Libby Perri, a former employee of the Officer's Club and before that, an employee of the original Officer's Club, was impressed with the results. With the drapes gone and new chandeliers in place, "it's lighter, it's airier," she said.
Following the vision of Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, former commander of Fort Jackson, the building has become what Coveney called an annex of the Fort Jackson museum.
The museum donated historical photos now featured in Victory Hall.
"When you walk in, you know you're on a military (post)," Coveney said.
In one room, framed uniforms adorn the walls -- one from a veteran killed in action during the war in Iraq.
Even the bathrooms were enhanced with new decorations.
One room, the catering office, is perpetually set up to show off the decor used for wedding receptions. It gives a better view of the versatility of the reception hall to show that it's not all "militaristic," Coveney said.
The changes were intended to increase both awareness and the hall's customer base, she explained.
That goal is also being strived for by offering an array of new food options.
When surveyed, Fort Jackson residents said they wanted more "grab and go" healthy meal choices on post, said Alicia Davidson, general manager of Victory Hall. Filling that niche became a goal of the project.
The hall's new "Armed Forces Cafe" will be serving many "heart healthy" options, including salads, wraps, greek yogurt and gluten free bread, Coveney said.
The initiative fits with the Army regulation that 25 percent of an installation's food offerings must be heart healthy, she added. Before now, Coveney claimed there was "no place of Fort Jackson where you (could) get a heart healthy meal."