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Civil engineers give fitness center locker rooms facelift

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- New wooden lockers were recently installed in the female locker room at the base fitness center. The new lockers, which were also installed in the male locker room, provide double the storage space to the user and replaced aging metal lockers that were originally installed when the facility was a child development center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- New wooden lockers were recently installed in the female locker room at the base fitness center. The new lockers, which were also installed in the male locker room, provide double the storage space to the user and replaced aging metal lockers that were originally installed when the facility was a child development center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Using a hammer and crowbar, Airman 1st Class David Kessen, 434th Civil Engineer Squadron engineer apprentice, persuades a group of old lockers loose as he removes them from the base fitness center here Feb. 14. New wooden lockers were recently installed, which provide double the storage space to the user and replaced aging metal lockers that were originally installed when the facility was a child development center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Using a hammer and crowbar, Airman 1st Class David Kessen, 434th Civil Engineer Squadron engineer apprentice, persuades a group of old lockers loose as he removes them from the base fitness center here Feb. 14. New wooden lockers were recently installed, which provide double the storage space to the user and replaced aging metal lockers that were originally installed when the facility was a child development center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Cynthia Boveda-Williams, 434th Force Support Squadron recreation assistant, gets a sneak peek at the new lockers installed in the female locker room at the base fitness center Feb. 14. New lockers were recently installed by the 434th Civil Engineer Squadron in both the male and female locker rooms, replacing aging metal lockers that were originally installed when the facility was used as a child development center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Cynthia Boveda-Williams, 434th Force Support Squadron recreation assistant, gets a sneak peek at the new lockers installed in the female locker room at the base fitness center Feb. 14. New lockers were recently installed by the 434th Civil Engineer Squadron in both the male and female locker rooms, replacing aging metal lockers that were originally installed when the facility was used as a child development center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Master Sgt. Joseph Tysinger, III, removes old lockers from the base fitness center here Feb. 14. New wooden lockers were recently installed, which provide double the storage space to the user and replaced the aging metal lockers that were originally installed when the facility was a child development center. Sergeant Tysinger is a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning superintendent with the 434th Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Master Sgt. Joseph Tysinger, III, removes old lockers from the base fitness center here Feb. 14. New wooden lockers were recently installed, which provide double the storage space to the user and replaced the aging metal lockers that were originally installed when the facility was a child development center. Sergeant Tysinger is a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning superintendent with the 434th Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Airman 1st Class David Kessen, selects a flat-head screwdriver as the right tool for the job as he removes old lockers from the base fitness center here Feb. 14. New wooden lockers were recently installed, which provide double the storage space to the user and replaced aging metal lockers that were originally installed when the facility was a child development center. Airman Kessen is a engineer apprentice with the 434th Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Airman 1st Class David Kessen, selects a flat-head screwdriver as the right tool for the job as he removes old lockers from the base fitness center here Feb. 14. New wooden lockers were recently installed, which provide double the storage space to the user and replaced aging metal lockers that were originally installed when the facility was a child development center. Airman Kessen is a engineer apprentice with the 434th Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Airman 1st Class David Kessen, 434th Civil Engineer Squadron engineer apprentice, removes old lockers from the base fitness center here Feb. 14. New wooden lockers were recently installed, which provide double the storage space to the user and replaced metal lockers that were originally installed when the facility was a child development center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Airman 1st Class David Kessen, 434th Civil Engineer Squadron engineer apprentice, removes old lockers from the base fitness center here Feb. 14. New wooden lockers were recently installed, which provide double the storage space to the user and replaced metal lockers that were originally installed when the facility was a child development center. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner)

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- Showcasing their talent, 434th Civil Engineer Squadron Airmen are making some big improvements to the base gym.

The project, which kicked off recently, is aimed at replacing the old metal lockers with new wooden ones in both the male and female locker rooms.

"They had been in there since it was a child development center, which was way before my time, so you know they've been in there a long time," said Will Somers, 434th Force Support Squadron recreation director, who arrived at Grissom in 1992. "They were rusting and had seen their better days."

Not only were the old lockers starting to show their age, they were also small as they were designed for youth and children, said Mr. Somers.

The new lockers are twice the size of the old ones, allowing for individuals to hang up their clothes and store more.

"I've used (the old lockers) before and trying to squeeze my boots and uniform into them was kind of a nightmare," explained Mr. Somers, who added that though there will be fewer lockers, the number isn't a concern.

"A lot of the old lockers were empty most of the time, and the majority of them had sat empty," he said. "And, our lockers are daily use, meaning you can't keep them for a week; you come in, you use them and you take your stuff with you leave."

But it's not just a size increase that makes the improvement so significant. The civil engineers put a lot of time and effort into going above and beyond not only to make them look nice, but also to make them functional long-run, explained the recreation director.

"With this warm and moist environment, we had to do a lot of work to make sure these wood lockers wouldn't mold, so we put a ventilation system underneath," said Master Sgt. Joseph Tysinger, III, 434th CES heating, ventilation, and air conditioning superintendent. "We also put in some detail work, including the Air Force symbol."

When asked about the importance of having new lockers, Mr. Somers explained that having a clean looking and modern facility helps encourage people to exercise.

"They look 100 percent better and this enhances the overall facility," he stated. "This makes it a nice place for people to want to come and workout."

The 434th FSS and CES are both part of the 434th Air Refueling Wing, which is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command and plays an important role in the Air Force's aerial refueling mission.

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