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Air Force to test unmanned fitness centers

The Air Force will keep six fitness centers open after hours on an unsupervised basis as part of an initiative to better tailor Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs and services to airmen’s needs.

Six stateside installations will implement 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week fitness centers this month and in January on a trial basis, an Air Force Personnel Center news release says.

The test installations are Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash.; Scott Air Force Base, Ill.; F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.; Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.; Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark.; and Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, D.C., the Air Force said.

Budget restrictions prevent round-the-clock manning, said Capt. Matthew Dunn, deputy chief of the personnel center’s Services Transformation, according to the release.

But some overseas Air Force bases already staff their fitness centers 24 hours a day, including the Coral Reef Fitness Center at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and the Osan Fitness Center at Osan Air Base, South Korea, according to staff members who answered the phone at each of those facilities Thursday. None of the major Air Force bases in Europe listed 24-hour fitness center operations on their websites.

An entry access and surveillance system will be installed at all of the stateside fitness centers slated for unsupervised after-hours operations, which are expected to be up and running at all facilities by the end of January, according to the Air Force news release.

Test installations will collect information on use, utility cost increases, damage to the facility or equipment, and injuries or incidents, to determine whether to expand the program across the Air Force, the release says.

svanj@estripes.osd.mil

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