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Workers tear down the old gym at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, last Sunday. Replacing it is the newly built, state-of-the-art gym in the background.
Workers tear down the old gym at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, last Sunday. Replacing it is the newly built, state-of-the-art gym in the background. (Alan W. Port / Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)
Workers tear down the old gym at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, last Sunday. Replacing it is the newly built, state-of-the-art gym in the background.
Workers tear down the old gym at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, last Sunday. Replacing it is the newly built, state-of-the-art gym in the background. (Alan W. Port / Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)
Members of 8th Maintenance Squadron at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, try the climbing wall at the newly opened base fitness center earlier this month. The new gym is more than twice as big as the old one and has a running track, sauna, juice bar and many pieces of state-of-the-art exercise equipment.
Members of 8th Maintenance Squadron at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, try the climbing wall at the newly opened base fitness center earlier this month. The new gym is more than twice as big as the old one and has a running track, sauna, juice bar and many pieces of state-of-the-art exercise equipment. (Michael R. Holzworth / Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

PYONGTAEK, South Korea — Airmen at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea now can work out, play sports and track their fitness in a brand new, state-of-the-art gym that’s more than twice the size of the old one.

They also can relax in the sauna or refresh themselves at a juice bar in the new, $11.8 million fitness center that officially opened Thursday.

The old gym, built in 1963, was torn down Sunday.

The new facility “rivals any civilian health club that I’ve ever been in,” said 1st Lt. Michelle Estep, a base spokeswoman. “It’s extremely nice. … Even the locker rooms are nice. They have sauna, steam rooms, private showers, brand new lockers. We’re very fortunate to have a facility like this, especially on a base this size.”

Kunsan, on South Korea’s western seacoast, is home to some 3,000 airmen of the 8th Fighter Wing, known as the Wolf Pack.

“Kunsan Air Base is considered the ‘tip of the spear’ and we always need to be ready,” said Estep. “We need to be fit to fight, and a facility like this allows us the opportunity to do that.

“There’s room for everyone because it’s so much bigger,” she said. “The old fitness center was 30,000 square feet and this one is 70,000, so it’s a significant size difference.”

Construction began in September 2002. Workers from the Central Company Ltd., under contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, completed the gym last month; it opened to airmen earlier this month.

The new center is set up with an indoor running track, two full-sized basketball courts, four racquetball courts, two cardio-fitness rooms, a weight room, a rock-climbing wall and rooms set aside for various classes, including step aerobics, kick boxing and indoor cycling.

Exercise gear in the new facility includes 51 pieces of cardio equipment — among them treadmills, upright bikes, and recumbent bikes; 49 Cybex weight-lifting machines; 11 Hammerstrength weight-lifting machines; and 11 weight-lifting stands.

Each cardio station is fitted with its own audio theater system: a flat screen television that can access channels including AFN, CNN, Fox News and the base’s commander’s access channel, Estep said. “So it’s very personalized.”

The cardio stations also are connected to FitLinxx, an electronic system that logs the amount and type of exercise an airman has done and records how many calories were burned, the airman’s heart rate and other key fitness data.

Senior Wolf Pack leaders can log onto the system to check an individual airman’s exercise schedule, Estep said.

The base Health And Wellness Center has been moved into the new gym as a convenience to airmen.

The new gym sits well with Staff Sgt. Angela Smith, 28, who works in the protocol office of 8th Fighter Wing headquarters.

“It has more space between equipment so now when you work out you’re not standing on top of the next person,” she said. “At the other gym you sometimes had to wait for someone to get off a treadmill or a trainer.”

But now, she said, “We have plenty. There’s way many.

“It looks fantastic. It’s new, it’s modern, like a health club, like maybe going to Bally. Lots of light, spacious, high ceilings, plenty of space to work out. I like it.”

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