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KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Teenagers on Kadena will have a place of their own starting Monday.

The grand opening of the Teen Center Millennium in the Nakayoshi Youth Complex is scheduled 3 to 5:30 p.m. in the former Falcon Gym, building 439, across from the Kadena Base Library on Kuter Boulevard.

Designed for teens ages 13 to 18, the center includes a cyber cafe with 18 computers; a game room with snack bar, a DJ booth and dance floor; a gym; a small theater; a band practice room; and video games. The center’s teen program also will feature academic and personal development programs, enrichment programs and special theme nights, said Fletcher Wooden, manager of the center.

“We converted the old Falcon Gym complex for about $84,000 and a lot of sweat equity,” Wooden said on a pre-opening tour of the facility. “You couldn’t get this amount of work done with just what was appropriated.”

He said the complex will also be used for youth sports involving children ages 6 to 18.

“But mostly it’s a place for the older teens to come and hang out with their friends and keep busy,” he said.

One innovation is the “Dance Dance Revolution” music video game that involves a special dance pad.

“We don’t want any couch potatoes,” Wooden said.

The project has been in the works for about a year and a half.

“Basically, we were running out of space for the teens at the old youth center, which was shared with the younger kids,” Wooden said.

Jamie Schachter, Kadena’s flight chief for family member programs, said teens preferred to have a place of their own.

“They didn’t think it was very cool to hang out with 6-year-olds,” she said.

The youth program serves about 6,000 different users a year.

Among other new things the center will offer is a theater area for special movie nights, a martial arts room and a staff lounge — “something we’ve never had before,” Schachter said.

There’s also a lot of outside space for volleyball and other activities.

The cyber cafe will feature 14 computers connected to the Internet and four additional computers for use for homework and digital art, Schachter said.

“We’re hoping that by being in new digs we’ll get even more new users coming out here,” she said. “We want it to be a place where the teens will be comfortable in just hanging out and socializing.”

That’s why the new name for the complex — Nakayoshi — is apt, she said. It means “close friends.”

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