Travis Air Force Base, Calif. - For years, Tanya McCormick, 60th Force Support Squadron fitness and sports center manager, dealt with the challenge of a base population that was too large for the square footage of one single gym facility.
Since 2002, a planned addition to the existing fitness center had yet to receive MILCON (military construction) funding.
“It wasn’t a priority and kept getting buried, yet our customer base continued to increase, especially impacting us during peak hours,” McCormick said.
McCormick approached Col. Victor Beeler, 60th Mission Support Group commander for more gym space. Beeler concurred that something needed to be done. “I noticed that people were working out elbow to elbow and I was getting plenty of feedback,” he said.
Instead of relying on outside funds to solve the problem, Beeler had to look for a solution using resources currently existing on the base.
“There are so many bases looking for MILCON funding, and the realistic chance of that happening is just about zero,” Beeler said. “At that point in time, it was a matter of going through all of the facilities on base and looking for opportunities.”
The Department of Defense's MILCON program includes all work necessary to build complete and usable facilities or complete usable improvements to existing facilities funded from appropriations provided by the Appropriation Act or comparable legislation.
One of Travis’ hangars was found to be underutilized due to its size. It was not large enough for any of Travis’ aircraft. It served as a nose dock hangar, where maintenance was performed on only the nose landing gear.
Beeler spearheaded a plan to transform the space into a gym and met with the Travis Facility Board, which allows leadership to prioritize construction projects.
“We went and visited every unit gym,” Beeler said. “They have to be inspected. They have to be up to code. It was so interesting to me because that is where we got some of the push back. Some of these gyms are the size of a closet. You could maybe do a push up and store a 10-pound dumbbell in there. But there is risk running a unit gym. At the end of the day, the professionals at FSS run the gyms.
“Once we got the keys from maintenance, it was a combination of effort from basically the entire support group,” Beeler said. “Civil Engineering did a lot of self-help, but it really falls in the wheelhouse of a lot of the young Airmen.”
Airmen from the 60th Civil Engineer Squadron structures shop demolished the existing makeshift mobile offices. Contractors power-washed and painted the entire interior. CE electricians ran electricity and put in all new LED lighting. Then the fire department went through to make sure the building was up to code.
Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Pulsipher, 60th MSG interim superintendent, organized a team from the 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron who picked up and moved gym equipment that had been donated from Vacaville High School.
Beeler gave McCormick, along with Barbara Green, 60th FSS programs director, a blank slate to design and implement the floorplan of the new gym, repurpose exercise equipment from the fitness center, order and install new equipment and see the plan through to completion.
“These two have been the rock stars in all this,” Beeler said. “They have been working nonstop from the beginning."
“We just did the fun part,” Green said.
The entire cost of the project was covered by existing base funds, according to Beeler. The labor was mostly self-help. From start to finish, the entire project took 90 days to complete.
“It’s money we already had in the fiscal 2019 operating budget,” said Pulsipher. "That’s much easier when you are using innovative thinking to get things done.”
Beeler considers it a true team effort.
“The gym offers another opportunity for individuals and units to exercise and build resilience through strength and conditioning of the body, not to mention the benefit of stress relief,” McCormick said. "This will open up space and allow customers to be able to work out and hopefully not have to wait in line to get on a piece of equipment.”
Airman 1st Class Alejandro Ramos, 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron C-5M Super Galaxy crew chief, stopped by the new gym to get a sneak peek before the grand opening.
“This gym looks really nice,” Ramos said. “I was excited when I found out that the base was going to open one here. With our hours, when we get off at 7 a.m., the main gym is always packed. This is a lot better.”
The Nose Dock Gym grand opening ceremony was Oct. 15. Current operating hours are 6–8 a.m. and 4–8 p.m., subject to change. Professional staff from the 60th FSS will maintain the facility. Initially, the gym is for active duty members only.
The new facility is located on Nose Dock Lane off Ragsdale and V Street. Parking is available in front of the building.
For more information on the Nose Dock Gym, call the fitness center at (707) 424-2008.