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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Potter Fitness Center is no longer charging nonactive-duty members $2 a class.

Classes are now free for all community members, including dependents, civilian employees and Japanese nationals, according to Jason Vandenberg, the 35th Services Squadron fitness center director.

The policy change affects about 20 classes a week.

All other classes taught by staff members or volunteers were always free, Vandenberg said.

Potter offers between 25 and 35 classes per week, Vandenberg said.

Attendance, he said, has gone up about 25 percent since classes became free Oct. 15, from an average of 16 people per class to more than 20.

The center was able to lift its fees for everyone by making changes to its budget, Vandenberg said.

“We prioritized it as the No. 1 program to be funded this year,” he said. “This is an important program for the Misawa community.”

While waiving fees, the fitness center also is offering several new classes this winter, including an evening “boot camp” that includes elements of the Air Force fitness test, cardiovascular conditioning using body sculpting and light weights, Vandenberg said.

The center purchased 15 new bicycles with plans to offer more indoor cycling classes, Vandenberg said. And the number of yoga offerings will be expanded.

Check at the fitness center’s latest schedule of classes at http://www.35thservices.com/.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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