Straight Talk: Repairs to the tennis bubble

  • Published
  • By Col. Stacy L. Yike
  • 66th Air Base Group commander
October is here! Fall brings many wonderful things to celebrate in New England, from the fall colors to the lively festivals around the area. This Friday, come join us at the Commons for Oktoberfest. Live bands will play in The Tavern while face painting, balloons and pumpkin decorating will kick off in the ballroom - great fun for the whole family (not to mention the German food). Check out the details at

October brings a new fiscal year for us, as well. I received several emails last week asking for details about the "streamlining" that would occur as a result of our budget constraints. The bottom line is that severe budget reductions are anticipated across the DoD, and base operation budgets have been reduced accordingly.

At Hanscom we are scrubbing every last expenditure to find the pennies needed to deliver the most critical mission requirements, such as our computer network, building infrastructure and base security. However, we do have impacts. Most noticeable will be changes at the fitness center. New hours are 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, effective Oct. 1. Also, the fitness classes offered at the gym and pool will change to a fee-based model on Nov. 1. We will reduce hours at the library and also reduce the frequency of custodial service in your buildings.

I know many of you will be frustrated with these changes. We are working daily to minimize impacts to you, but we need everyone's help in reducing expenses across the base and looking for savings where you can. We will continue to seek your input on what we can do to optimize our services given the resources we have.

I will hold a Town Hall on Oct. 19 to provide an update and answer any questions you may have. Stay tuned to the Hansconian for further updates each week. We will also post new hours and processes at the facilities and on the websites to give you as much information as possible. Meanwhile, I do have at least one tiny bit of good news. Read on for one reader's input.

Inquiry: I believe (we) speak on behalf of all of us that use the tennis bubble regularly and not to mention the number of attendees and their families that attend the base-wide events held there throughout the year. We strongly support the repair of the tennis bubble, especially before the volatile winter approaches. Thank you for your consideration.

Response: I appreciate the multiple inputs we have received in support of repairing the tennis bubble. The good news is that AFMC provided separate funds to cover our storm damage, so we don't have to figure out how to cover this out of our diminishing budget. We expect to complete the tennis bubble repair by Thanksgiving.