On July 15, the process of completing renovating the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Dining Facility started. Engineers were finally able to begin knocking down the inside walls with sledgehammers to begin the process of having a modern and updated eating area for the joint base community.
Maj. Kurt Gerfen, the JBM-HH Directorate of Public Works special projects officer, said they are in between two phases because the final design is only about 95 to 99% complete.
“We are finalizing the 100% design and with that, we have gone ahead and started the demolition of the interior of the building,” said Gerfen. “As we finish the design and once the demolition is done, we can start going in there and do the full on construction that they need to build it to the design that we desire.”
Gerfen added that the DFAC will have an upgraded kitchen and the dining area will have a more modern look. The idea is to be more welcoming.
“The key word from the (subject matter experts) from Fort Lee, (Virginia), are they are calling it a warrior restaurant,” he said. “The look is what you see in the upscale college cafeterias is … this would be for a DFAC that has more options. We are also including what is called the Military Enlisted Aide Training (because) a lot of the aides (who) service the senior leaders who live on our post require training because they have to be culinary experts.
“As part of this initiative, we are putting a small training lab for the MEAT program. (It) is going to have a small lab in there where they will be able to train and work with military enlisted aides. (It gives) them some practical training and on-site practical training for helping to do the culinary work they are required to do when they are working for some of our Army senior leaders.”
Gerfen pointed out that the storage area that the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” has in the DFAC will also be upgraded.
“Those areas are going to be updated and brought up to code giving them a little bit more space than they currently have,” Gerfen said. “Finally, we will be upgrading and providing a more welcoming and user-friendly area for the Transition Assistance Program. All three tenants in there are getting an upgrade to the building.”
Gerfen said the renovations would provide a welcoming feeling to those who visit the DFAC and TAP. For example, he said if a Soldier is using TAP and it’s time for lunch, he or she will have an opportunity to stop by the DFAC and have lunch because it will have a welcoming feel with quite a few options. The DFAC will also have grab-n-go options.
“There is a very big concept with this warrior restaurant; it’s going to be a lot more than what we had,” he said. “The DFAC provides our Soldiers the nutrition they need to help maintain healthy lifestyles. “
All DFAC operations are now at Spates Community Club and Conference Center and Soldiers will have to use Spates until the end of 2023, the projected date when the DFAC will be open and ready for Soldiers to use it.
Gerfen added that when the construction is complete by the contractor, that doesn’t mean it will be ready for use because the equipment and cookware will have to be added.
“It’s a good project, and I understand it does put some frustration on the community, especially some of the Soldiers there because they have to eat out of Spates and it is not ideal for the next two years,” said Gerfen. “We do have to look at the final goal of having one of the more premier DFACs in the Army here at the Army’s home, as we call it.”