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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — A section of the Potter Fitness Center is slated to close for a light renovation project, but not as many rooms will be upgraded as first planned.

Base officials said previously that the main and annex gyms and aerobics, dojo and parent-and-toddler rooms would be off-limits for most of January while brighter, more energy efficient lights were installed.

But only the main and annex gyms are getting new lights this go-’round, said Capt. Beth Porter, 35th Civil Engineer Squadron chief of maintenance engineering.

Due to “miscommunication” between the engineering squadron and 35th Contracting Squadron, officials announced smaller workout rooms would be closed, but Porter said they belong to a separate project.

“We amended the contract to take these out” of the lighting project, she said of the auxiliary rooms. “We ordered the lights separate from the contract” so no extra lights were shipped to Misawa.

The engineering squadron received $65,700 in Air Force Productivity Enhancement Capitalization Investment money to retrofit the main and annex gymnasiums with brighter, more energy-efficient lights.

Those funds typically are awarded for projects that save the Air Force money, Porter said. In this case, base civil engineers estimate the new lights will save about $51,000 a year in energy costs.

The new type of lights already hang from the ceiling in the annex gym — now open to the public — while the main gym will close from Jan. 26 to March 1 for renovations.

Civil engineering also requested $9,000 in PECI funds to retrofit the aerobics, dojo, parent-and-toddler rooms and four racquetball courts with energy efficient lights next winter, Porter said.

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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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