Major renovation project underway at Hill’s Airmen Recreation Center
By Donovan Potter, 75th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 07, 2021
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- After a nine-month renovation project at the Airman Recreation Center, members of the base and community gathered May 3 to celebrate a soft re-opening of the center.
Senior Airman Dennis Spain, president of Hill’s First Four organization, has spearheaded the ARC transformation and said he’s very happy with all the financial and physical help he’s received, including efforts from base agencies, community partners and the Airmen it will serve.
“This building is primarily for the Airmen, done by the Airmen, 100 percent,” Spain said. “I’ve never seen so many Airmen come together, working toward one common goal. We had between 25-30 people show up for each of our Saturday sessions and they worked for nothing in return. It’s a beautiful sight.”
Every room in the ARC is being upgraded. All the walls in the gallery, which is a karaoke and game room, were redone and the furniture was replaced. The theater is state-of-the-art and all new tables and chairs went in to the conference area.
Six Airmen from across the base were selected for their artistic talents to create works of art on the freshly painted walls.
The biggest project was upgrading the kitchen, which now allows for a coffee shop atmosphere. Everything in the kitchen is new, from floor to ceiling, including all new appliances and countertops.
But it’s the education room that makes Spain the proudest.
“This room will have impressive computers and 3D printers,” he said. “It’s going to be great for people who just want a place to study and further their academic intellect.”
Spain said the ARC is import to Airmen because it provides a place to unwind and play a video game with a colleague or read a good book. He said it ultimately promotes readiness.
“The concept of being ready and staying ready is having the mental ability to take on the next challenge,” he said. “To stay ready, we need to be able to relax when we get the opportunity. The ARC allows for Airmen to relax. It enhances morale and keeps the level of mental stability intact, which keeps us ready to perform our jobs.”
One of the supporters of this project was the Top of Utah Military Affair Committee, donating all the upgraded chairs and tables, everything for the conference area and the projector and screen for the theater.
“TOUMAC is the catalyst to getting where we are right now,” Spain said. “We could not have accomplished this without TOUMAC. They have been instrumental in allowing us to get to the next level, with selfless donations.”
TOUMAC member and Air Force retiree Bob Ekstrom said it was a pleasure for his organization to donate to the ARC because they see the value of the facility.
“It’s important for Airmen to have a place where they can get out of the dorms and hang out and be with their peers,” Ekstrom said. “I think it’s a good support area for the young Airmen to have a place to enjoy and relax, watch movies, play games and have opportunities for professional development.”
Chief Master Sgt. Christopher Walker, 75th Air Base Wing command chief, said he appreciates the longstanding relationship Hill AFB has enjoyed with community partners and is excited for the opportunities and resiliency focus the ARC will provide Hill’s Airmen.
“The dedication to this facility has been ongoing for years,” he said. “From TOUMAC providing the tools and resources to enable us to realize a vision, to the Salt Lake Homebuilder’s Association teaching our junior enlisted a few trade skills, to a team of fantastic Airmen pouring their hearts into it, it has finally become a reality.”
Once completed, Hill Airmen will have a first-class facility, available 24-hours a day, through vindicated access.
“Our Airmen deserve a first-class center where they can recharge from the rigors of Air Force life so they can stand ready to perform in defense of our nation and that’s exactly what we have here,” said Col. Jenise Carroll, 75th ABW commander. “I’m extremely pleased with what this facility represents and I thank everyone who has donated time, energy and resources.”
The ARC remains open while some finishing renovations occur. The project is expected to be completed next month and will be celebrated with a grand re-opening event in the future.