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Family Fitness Center opens for business

Shara Cooley, tries out one of the treadmills at the Family Fitness Center while watching her daughter, Emily play in the children’s area.

Shara Cooley, tries out one of the treadmills at the Family Fitness Center while watching her daughter, Emily play in the children’s area.

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- A long line of strollers is not a normal sight to see at a gym, but at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Family Fitness Center Monday they were more than welcome.

Located at the Hess Fitness Center, the child-friendly center officially opened its doors for business earlier this week.

"I'm so excited that everyone gets to come and use it," said Suzann Chambers. "It's even better than I thought it was going to be."

Mrs. Chambers, along with Tracie Gurney and Susan Briesmaster organized the project that transformed the drab, grey old weight room into a colorful, cheerful place where Hill Air Force Base parents can workout while they watch their children. The center includes both a cardio room and a weight room, each with an enclosed area with televisions and toys for children, that are visible to parents while they workout.

"I think it is wonderful," said Shara Cooley, Hill AFB mom, who brought her one-year-old daughter, Emily to the ceremony. "I wanted to get out and start working out, but my husband is active duty so he can't watch her during the day. Having the room where I can watch her while I work out is great for me. No more excuses now I have to do it."

The area is open to parents and children, ages six-weeks to six-years-old. Parents must have their children with them in order to use this area, and are responsible for the direct supervision of their own children while using the facility.

"At its inception, the initiative was targeted toward military members, then we wisely pushed to include our civilians, and now we're embracing the importance of exercise as a family activity," Colonel Chambers said. "The time, effort and money spent developing a place where families can come and exercise together will pay enormous dividends in the health and wellness of our Air Force family at large."

Mrs. Chambers said that this project could not have been possible without the support of many people from Team Hill and the community, which included construction from the 75th Civil Engineer Squadron and donations from the thrift shop, chief's group and Layton City.

"This family fitness center is one of many great examples of what our proactive, dedicated, community-oriented spouses bring to the fight," Col. Scott Chambers, 75th Air Base Wing Commander. "It's amazing what a sense of creativity mixed with a little elbow grease can produce with some great vision and backup from supporting agencies. Suzann, Susan and Tracie should be extremely proud of the fact that they are the reason this project left the realm of great ideas and became a reality."

Next to the two children and parent rooms, there is already a space saved for the next step in the project - a teen workout room that will be for youth ages 10-13.

"It's a work in progress," Mrs. Chambers said. "(The Family Fitness Center) will continue to grow."