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Richard Barton, 12, plays air hockey after school at the Yokosuka Teen Center. His father is assigned to the USS Kitty Hawk. The center, near the middle and high schools, offers teens pool tables, air hockey, foozball and computers.

Richard Barton, 12, plays air hockey after school at the Yokosuka Teen Center. His father is assigned to the USS Kitty Hawk. The center, near the middle and high schools, offers teens pool tables, air hockey, foozball and computers. (Juliana Gittler / S&S)

Richard Barton, 12, plays air hockey after school at the Yokosuka Teen Center. His father is assigned to the USS Kitty Hawk. The center, near the middle and high schools, offers teens pool tables, air hockey, foozball and computers.

Richard Barton, 12, plays air hockey after school at the Yokosuka Teen Center. His father is assigned to the USS Kitty Hawk. The center, near the middle and high schools, offers teens pool tables, air hockey, foozball and computers. (Juliana Gittler / S&S)

Charles Hardison, 15, plays pool at the Yokosuka Teen Center after school. Hardison's father is a chief aboard the USS O'Brien.

Charles Hardison, 15, plays pool at the Yokosuka Teen Center after school. Hardison's father is a chief aboard the USS O'Brien. (Juliana Gittler / S&S)

Teenagers will have more opportunities to participate in activities thanks to improvements planned for teen centers at Yokosuka Naval Base and the Ikego and Negishi housing areas.

The Yokosuka teen center will go through “beautifications,” Teen/Open Recreation Programs Coordinator Geoff Rhinehart said. All three centers are set to get new amenities.

An 800-square-foot center also is being erected in Negishi, and Ikego will get its own teen center building, he said.

The Ikego teen center currently shares a building with a residential tower party room used for school-age children, Rhinehart said. There are many teens living at Ikego housing area and a new building is desperately needed.

Yokosuka Naval Base’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation department is providing $60,000 to $80,000 for the upgrades, Yokosuka base spokesman Mike Chase said.

“There is a long-term plan to have a separate teen center, and site approval has been received for the area near the tennis courts just below Club Takemiya,” Chase said, referring to the Ikego center. “It will still be quite some time before the final teen center is constructed.”

A completion date has not been set.

“It is now dependent on when the contractors can get to work on it, but it should be done before the end of the year, hopefully much sooner,” Chase said of the Negishi center.

Yokosuka Naval Base’s teen center also will get a face-lift: Repainting and recarpeting are planned.

The three teen facilities will feature new amenities such as plasma-screen televisions, cool-looking furniture, blacklight pool tables, air hockey tables, X-Box systems and jukeboxes.

author picture
Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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