MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, GA -- The Commandant of the Marine Corps stresses quality of life as an important aspect of taking care of Marines and their families. In keeping with the commandant's direction, new facilities and services arrived here recently and more are expected in the future.
The Daniels Family Fitness Center was improved recently, including a substantial equipment upgrade. Some of the existing Nautilus equipment was outdated and newer machines were needed.
"We are also in the design phase of adding 3,800 to 4,000 square feet of floor space to the existing building," said Navy Lt. Steven Bowser, the base's public works officer.
According to Bowser, construction of the estimated $800,000 upgrade will probably begin this winter and be completed by next summer. Personnel also recently made improvements to safety in the center's parking lot.
Last November, Col. Charles V. Mugno, the base commanding officer, noticed that the parking lot located behind the fitness center posed a danger to patrons. People who parked in this lot could not easily exit the area safely. They had to drive their cars in reverse throughout the whole parking lot to exit.
Shortly thereafter, personnel from the base's Installations and Logistics Division began working on finding a way to solve the issue. By January, a contractor had been selected and construction began on a road that would enable fitness center patrons to exit the parking lot safely. In less than a month, the road was completed and a safety issue was resolved.
Bowser feels this was a concern for many members of the base community, but it was the base commanding officer who addressed the issue first.
"Colonel Mugno recognized a safety concern in the middle of November and four months later the issue was resolved," said Bowser.
Base personnel could have voiced their concern on this issue, thereby helping to make improvements in the quality of life here.
"When folks drive around base and see something that we at I&L can address, we are here to do it," said Bowser. "If it makes good sense, then we will explore it. We don't have all the good ideas, and if someone else does, we want to know what they are."
Along with a new and improved fitness facility, the base community can look forward to other improvements. Construction of a brand new gate sentry building located at the rear entrance of the base should be underway within six to nine months.
This new facility will contain a restroom and will meet current AT/FP standards. For the sentries who man this post, the improvements to their work environment will be significant. This project is slated for completion in the spring of 2004.
After exiting the base through the back gate, motorists will notice that drive into the city limits is smoother when crossing over the railroad tracks. The tracks' thresholds were recently replaced with a high quality version that will last longer.
I&L personnel are also working to build a new dog kennel facility for the Provost Marshal's Office K-9 unit. The facility will house a climate-controlled environment that will make the dogs happier. Construction on this project is slated to begin this fall.
When personnel travel through the base, they may notice buildings' roofs looking more aesthetically pleasing. This is the result of an ongoing effort to replace older roofs with new ones throughout the entire base.
The next roof that will be replaced is the one atop Coffman Hall. The new roof, a standing seam metal roof, will be pitched, not flat like the existing roof. This type of roof is more efficient, easier to maintain and will last a lot longer than the one it will replace. This project has been awarded to a construction contractor who will begin actual construction in the next few weeks.
Additional projects are planned over the coming years to replace even more roofs.
New roofs, upgrades to the fitness centers and additional sidewalks are just a few of the things that have been done to give base personnel a better quality of life.
If people know of a place where a sidewalk is needed, they should suggest it, said Bowser.
"We need to solicit ideas and get folks to help make the base better," said Bowser. "If there is a safety issue, it is important for people to inform us."
With all the upcoming improvements, base personnel can look forward to a continuing higher quality of life for themselves and their families.
"We can be the model installation of the Marine Corps," said Col. Charles V. Mugno, base commanding officer. Mugno also pointed out that with these improvements, along with the new medical facility and the arrival of a Navy Federal Credit Union Branch, MCLB Albany is on its way to reaching that goal.