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News > Commentary - Straight Talk: Fitness center facility
Straight Talk: Fitness center facility

Posted 6/23/2011   Updated 6/23/2011 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by Col. Stacy L. Yike
66th Air Base Group commander


6/23/2011 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Comment: My concern stems from what I feel is a lack of pride in our fitness facilities. I can only speak about the men's locker room, but there are several issues I feel important to bring to your attention. First is a lack of ventilation in the men's locker room. Fans are blowing, but I don't believe clean air is being filtered in. There is an undeniable odor. The foul smell is hard to ignore and reason for concern.

This, however, is not my major reason for reaching out to you. My main issue lies within the men's shower facilities. Paint in the showers is peeling off the ceiling and what appears to be mold is covering unpainted areas. This is bad enough, but it should be unacceptable that bugs line the walls and ceiling of the showers.

Every morning when taking a shower before work and getting ready to conquer the numerous issues at hand, I think of all our leaders preaching to "take pride in what we do" only to look up at peeling paint, mold on the ceiling and bugs in my face.

I am proud to work for the Air Force, doing acquisitions and supporting our warfighters. I ask the same from those responsible for managing the fitness facilities. At a minimum, hire an exterminator, get rid of the bug infestation, kill the mold and paint the peeling ceilings. The pride we take in the appearance of our facilities should be a reflection of the pride we have in our hearts for the jobs we do to protect our warfighters.

Response: Thanks for your feedback and I can assure you that pride in the services we provide to Hanscom tops my list. Your concern has been on the radar of the Fitness and Sports Center and our civil engineers for quite awhile and we are working both short and long term solutions. Short answer: we are going to make this better. Long answer: read only if you like long engineering explanations.

The odor and ventilation problem is caused by the HVAC system, which cannot maintain the proper temperature or humidity in the locker rooms. The good news is that a project was recently funded to redesign and repair the HVAC in the locker rooms. Repairs are expected to start in January 2012.

As a direct result of the poor temperature and humidity controls, the carpets in the locker rooms remain damp, which can lead to an unpleasant odor. To mitigate this, we steam clean the carpet monthly and we have an unfunded request to remove the carpet completely and replace it with tile.

We understand that the peeling paint and small areas of mold are unsightly. CE, fitness center staff and the base custodial contractor will increase their efforts to clean the affected areas. Once the HVAC system is repaired, the whole shower room area will be repaired and painted.

The insect problem that occurs occasionally in the locker rooms is likely linked to a problem with the shower drainage system. These small flies have been investigated by public health and, while highly annoying, they do not cause a health risk. CE has conducted initial investigations and once we isolate the problem, the repair will be planned and programmed.

Meanwhile, CE pest management personnel regularly treat the drains in order to control the flies and fitness center staff pay special attention to the cleaning of the shower area and drains. If you notice drain flies in the shower area, notify fitness center personnel immediately.

Thank you again for your concern and I appreciate you writing in to share this issue. I agree that the appearance of our facilities should be a reflection of the pride we have in our important mission of supporting our warfighters.

Do you have a question? Send it in to Straight Talk or come to the installation Town Hall meeting on June 28 at 4 p.m. at the Minuteman Club and ask me yourself. See you there!



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