WIESBADEN, Germany - Despite keeping an around-the-clock facility running full steam while serving some 45,000 patrons a month, Wiesbaden Sports and Fitness Director Kevin Ringgold continuously seeks ways to enhance operations to better serve customers.
“Right now we’re in the midst of getting replacements for about 80 percent of all our cardio equipment,” he said, explaining that despite the occasional down-time of some gear, “we always do the best we can to get them back up. … We have to keep it going for the type of mission we have in Wiesbaden. We’ll beg, borrow and steal to keep the stuff up and running.”
The center director said the goal is to have the new equipment delivered and installed before summer, thanks in part to the oversight and support by regional headquarters and Installation Management Command.
Unlike some garrisons, Wiesbaden only has one fitness center – hence the constant drive to offer a multifarious resource. “We tend to get used on the extreme end because we are the only fitness center,” said Ringgold. That means serving an extremely diverse demographic – everything from all service members in the area to members of the Corps of Engineers, Department of Defense Education Activity, family members, retirees and civilians.
“I would compare us more to an events center. We host a lot of special events and reservations. We’re been very successful at trying to accommodate the community,” Ringgold said.
Besides offering a full spectrum of fitness opportunities – everything from yoga, spin, functional fitness training and Zumba classes to unit sports programming – the center is also the showcase for visiting Armed Forces Entertainment performances such as the upcoming Harlem Globetrotters tour on March 25, DoDEA sports championships, Child and Youth Service league play, regular running events, bi-annual bazaars, the annual Tournament of Plays Awards Show and lots more.
“I have a team of folks who like creating new classes for people. We have a new trainer who wants to offer outdoor classes in the morning,” he said, pointing out that the fitness center classes are extremely affordable, costing only a fraction of off-post offerings with the “quality being comparable or better.”
“We as a force tend to have world-class athletes in our midst, and many of them start with our CYS sports programs,” he said, describing the value in encouraging all members of the community to get involved in sports and fitness programs at any age.
“Our locker rooms are going through phased renovations. In the months ahead you’ll see completely renovated shower rooms, and we’re working on getting new saunas,” Ringgold said. “The Corps of Engineers and Directorate of Public Works are working hard to make it happen.”
Planners are also looking at ways to offer more exercise training options at the back of the Fitness Center, he said.
“We are busy, but we aren’t too busy to talk to our customers. … We always encourage the community to come out and watch our sports programs – right now it’s unit volleyball,” he said, adding that volunteers play a large role in maintaining the facility for all patrons.
“We are very fortunate to have the customers we do, because they police each other, helping to clean up after use. We have some very loyal customers who help us every day picking up gym wipes after cleaning equipment – and we appreciate that,” Ringgold said.
“We also have some MPs (members of the 401st Military Police Company) who have volunteered to help us maintain our area of responsibility,” he said, thanking Staff Sgt. Armas and his fellow MPs who have dedicated more than 2,000 hours to “help us out – and we really appreciate that.”
Ringgold reminded patrons to make sure that they are fully registered and up-to-date with MWR’s RecTrac. “Always make sure to scan in when you come into the facility. Scans equal visits equal participation which translates into more dollars for the community. For more information and to get registered, stop by the Reception Desk at the Fitness Center.
“Invest in fitness,” said Ringgold in conclusion. “It makes our Army healthier and happier.”
Editor’s note: To check out the daily schedule of fitness classes available and other upcoming events at the Sports and Fitness Center visit the Family and MWR home page at: https://wiesbaden.armymwr.com.