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A ground-breaking ceremony was held April 23 at Naval Support Facility Dahlgren for the installation's new Physical Fitness Center as part of the kickoff of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response 5K race. Military Construction Project 372 (MILCON 372) will be completed in the spring of 2015 at a cost of $9.9 million, offering service members and Navy employees an improved, 31,525 square-foot workout space. Dahlgren's current fitness center, built in 1942, will be demolished once the new gym is completed.

Additional parking, a dividable command physical training (PT) space, a classroom and a gymnasium with seating for 200 people are just some of P372's improvements. A family workout space, specifically designed for parents with children aged six weeks to six years old, will allow parents to exercise while maintaining line-of-sight supervision of their children.

New equipment-including four more treadmills, six ellipticals, three upright bikes and three recumbent bikes-will add to the fitness center's supply of cardio gear. While saunas will not be a part of the new fitness center and locker rooms will be downsized, the men's locker room will have divided showers, instead of the communal showers in current men's locker room."

"[The new fitness center] will provide more space, additional exercise options and a greater opportunity for our base personnel and residents," said Capt. Pete Nette, commanding officer of Naval Support Activity South Potomac. "Whereas before it was difficult to enjoy an event on the gym floor, this new facility will have a spectator area. For our tenant commands, there will be a variety of exercise rooms to accommodate unit training. It's also going to have separate fitness spaces. And this is unique-it has a family fitness space. We think that's an added benefit to our population here."

Nette also highlighted the efficient, LEED Silver environmental standards that the new facility will meet and thanked all who have supported the project. "The project is the culmination of years of planning and support from our Fleet and Family Readiness centers and the Public Works departments of Navy Facilities Engineering Command Washington (NAVFACWASH)," he said. "It's going to provide an enhanced fitness experience and a mission-ready workforce for both the Fleet and the installation."

Capt. Tony Edmonds, commanding officer of NAVFACWASH, praised his command for advancing the project in a very tough fiscal climate. "I want to thank my team for getting this project to the state it is today," he said. "Just getting it programmed took tremendous effort and teamwork-to have a really well-justified project, teed up, documented and submitted for approval-that alone was a tremendous accomplishment."

Edmonds also thanked C.E.R. Inc., awarded the contract for P372, for its support of the project. "What we do in our business is always in complete concert with our contractor partners, and we look at them as our partners," he said. "They've been a partner with NAVFAC and the Navy for quite some time. They have earned our trust through great work and so far, in delivering a design that has been completed right on time."

Michael Phillips, vice president and project executive at C.E.R. Inc., said his company would meet NAVFACWASH's expectations. "I'm here to assure you that the project is in good hands," he said, listing some of the projects his company has completed for the Navy in the past three decades.

"It's been a privilege and we're very thankful to NAVFAC for entrusting this project to us and I can assure you that we have a solid team in place," Phillips continued. "Since the award in September, we've been diligently working with NAVFAC and the Dahlgren team on the design and that's resulted in what you see here before you. We're eager to put the shovel in the ground."