Camp Smith leaps forward in energy technology and fitness capability
By Cpl. Isis M. Ramirez
| | July 25, 2012
CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii --
Upon entering the double doors, your lungs immediately fill with the stuffy air that lingers throughout the basement, the only facility the “gym rats” here have come to know.
Customers walk in, look for a cardio machine sitting idle and step onto whichever they find. As they start to work out, their beads of sweat quickly surface. Consequently, the poor sap on the machine only inches away begins to wonder what food could produce such ill-scented perspiration.
A new gym has long been anticipated. The efforts to bring a quality fitness center to Camp H.M. Smith date back before the Berlin Wall was built and before Marilyn Monroe died. Perhaps the push started during the first televised presidential debate.
“Since 1960, we have been pursuing military construction for a new physical fitness center,” said Col. Brent S. Willson, commander of Headquarters and Service Battalion, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. “Presently, we have very limited exercise capability in the basement of one of the old hospital wings, which does not meet our needs.”
These remarks were made during a traditional Hawaiian blessing ceremony for the new fitness center at its construction site July 18, attended by service members, architects, contractors, as well as a Kahu, or native Hawaiian minister.
In June 2011, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Hawaii awarded a contract worth more than $25.4 million for the new fitness center here and athletic field repairs at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.
The project not only brings a state-of-the-art fitness center to Camp H.M. Smith, but also helps boost the local economy, said Willson.
Some of the features to be included in the 29,827-square-foot facility are full-sized basketball and volleyball courts, an aerobic and exercise area, cardiovascular and strength training equipment, showers, locker rooms, saunas, as well as a dedicated parking area.
“Working out in the afternoon or after work at the gym aboard Camp Smith is a constant struggle,” said Sgt. Jesse V. Gonzalez, intelligence analyst in the intelligence section of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. “Most of the time, there isn't enough equipment for everyone to utilize at once and you’re left waiting until a treadmill or a dumbbell is freed. Space is also a major issue as one continues to stay out of others’ way. Any facility larger and with more equipment available would suffice.”
Along with these upgrades, the facility was also designed with environmental impacts in mind.
“Personnel will be pleased to know that this is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold (certified) facility, which exceeds Department of Defense standards,” Willson said.
All of the facility’s energy needs, to include the water-heating and parking lot lights, will be solar powered. The structure will also have plenty of windows to take advantage of the natural light and reduce energy needs.
The project should be completed by August 2013, benefiting more than 2,500 service members, government civilian employees and families aboard Camp Smith.
“These personnel must remain in top physical condition because our nation may call upon us at any time to protect our freedoms,” Willson said. “This fitness center is a major step forward in ensuring that we are ready for the call.”