Westside Fitness Center Closure

Westside Fitness Center Closure

Due to the lack of resources to bring the Westside Fitness Center up to public health and Air Force standards, the facility will close Sept. 4. This decision was not made lightly, and a full range of options were explored before making the decision. 

In this time of constrained resources, bringing the facility up to standards is not cost effective, and as a mission-ready Air Force, we must guarantee the safety and health of all our Airmen. 

Hill AFB has outstanding fitness programs and areas to meet the needs of all active duty and DOD ID cardholders. 

The Warrior and Hess Fitness Centers are available for use Monday-Friday 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and holidays/family days 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additionally, an outdoor track and par-course with a paved scenic trail are available. 

Rumors about the pending closure have been circulating Team Hill. The following responses address some of the concerns related to the decision to close the Westside Fitness Center. 

Q: With all the rumors about the closure of the Westside Fitness Center, it appears “the poll” to see who utilizes the facility did not make it down to the employee/user level in quite a few organizations. The emails forwarded to me on this issue indicated the 75 ABW/CC may have only sought feedback from Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC). What about those of us who do not fall under AFLCMC? 

A: A lot of research communication goes on before a decision like this is made. It’s hard to stop rumors from spreading. To ensure transparency, we have informed commanders/directors of the units that will most likely be affected, not just AFLCMC. Senior leaders know the Westside Fitness Center is well used and did not make this decision without exploring the full range of options. The driving factors in this closure are the lack of resources to bring the facility up to standards and inadequate staffing to maintain the facility, not a lack of participation. 

Q: Since the closure has to do with funding to bring the facility in compliance with public health standards, I wondered if it would be possible to reconsider closing this facility?

A: As a mission-ready Air Force, we must guarantee the safety and health of all of our Airmen. For this reason it is always our goal to meet or exceed public health standards. In this time of constrained resources and competing base-wide projects, bringing this facility up to those standards is not cost effective. An additional, equally important factor, is that the base’s fitness center staff is not resourced to manage this facility. Having staff in the facility is essential to ensure the safety and health of our patrons.

Q: With the closure, there are several facility users in the west area (mostly civilians) that would not be able to utilize their three hours of weekly physical fitness time (“Fit for Life” program) because they van pool or carpool. In other cases, some individuals do not drive due to driving restrictions. 

A: It is admirable that some members are helping minimize their eco-footprint by carpooling and we hope they continue to make the transportation choices best suited for their lifestyle and workday. With that being said, we cannot continue to operate a facility that compromises the safety and welfare of our Airmen. Employees who choose to take advantage of the Fit for Life program hours granted by Air Force Materiel Command should work with their supervisors to set fitness hours that work for the mission and the employee’s schedule. The Warrior and Hess Fitness Centers are available for all civilian ID card holders who choose to take advantage of the Fit for Life program. Thanks to the beautiful Utah weather, there are also plenty of outdoor fitness activities available. 

Q: I am having a very difficult time explaining to my employees as well as others that have contacted me, why their only fitness option is being taken from them, yet three facilities in the east area are being maintained. 

A: The primary Air Force goal for fitness centers on installations is to ensure that military members are able to maintain their level of fitness to deploy and meet mission-ready requirements. We must provide safe and secure facilities in which to achieve that goal. We are able to achieve the Air Force goals and objectives with our Warrior and Hess Fitness Centers. Our fitness center funding is based on this goal, not the Fit for Life program.

Q: Are there base transportation options for those who cannot get to the east area facilities for Fit for Life time? 

A: The base is not funded at this time to operate a shuttle from the west to the east side facilities. 

Q: Would it be possible to close one of the three east side fitness facilities and keep the only one in the west area open? 

A: It’s not a matter of choosing one facility over another. The Westside Fitness Center is not a purposed-built fitness facility and does not meet health and safety standards. Closing the Warrior or Hess, our only purpose-built fitness facilities, will not help us keep the Westside Fitness Center open.

Q: To make the decision transparent, shouldn’t all employees/users of the facility at least get an opportunity to let you know how the facility is being utilized from a population standpoint? 

A:  The 75th Force Support Squadron and Fitness Center management team has been fielding comments and inquiries from the facility users as an ongoing process. Unfortunately, the condition of the facility does not meet the Air Force health and safety standards to safely maintain the operation to meet mission requirements. We are unable to adequately staff the facilities to operate and maintain the integrity of the building, which compromises the safety and welfare of all of our Airmen. 

For more information about Hill AFB fitness programs, call the Warrior Fitness Center at 801-777-2762. 

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