Base Aquatics Center celebrates grand opening

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- It was an honor and privilege March 14 to host the ribbon cutting ceremony for the grand opening of the Peterson Aquatics Center. The ceremony really was a very important event for the base because of the tremendous quality of life improvement the facility offers to our Airmen and their families ... military and civilian alike. Given that one of the core areas of the 21st Space Wing mission is to provide unsurpassed installation support, this new facility will go a long way in fulfilling that mission requirement, not only for 21st SW personnel, but for everyone on base.
Now that the Peterson Aquatics Center has re-opened, I'd like to extend my personal thanks to the entire community for bearing with its closure for 16 long months. The Aquatic Center has been a greatly missed asset to the Team Peterson community and it is very exciting to finally have it available for use again. I am confident that everyone will agree the $2.8 million facility was well worth the wait. 

Allow me to run down a few of the latest improvements incorporated into the renovation that demonstrate what an asset this facility really is: 

It has a brand new roof with state-of-the-art materials.
In fact, the raised ceiling is two times as high as the previous facility and has natural lighting coming through five skylights. 

It has a newly covered epoxy floor deck that provides a non-skid surface and safe access to the facility. This is one of the first things you will notice and I know this safety feature will surely provide peace of mind to a lot of parents out there. 

It has a new hot tub, a new diving board and a giant waterslide. These amenities are sure to provide hours of fun and relaxation for everyone. 

The swimming pool and baby pool have been re-lined with a heavy-duty, user-friendly material. This was probably one of the most important pieces in the project, ensuring many more years of operation for the entire facility. 

And finally, the facility offers easy access to the Bowling Center snack bar. When you look at the total package, the Aquatics Center makes for an all-around enjoyable family atmosphere. Only a handful of bases in the Department of Defense can offer all these features and provide service year-round. 

Getting the Aquatics Center up and running was another example of a total team effort. My thanks to those in the 21st Services and 21st Civil Engineer Squadrons who worked so hard meeting all the necessary milestones that had to take place prior to the grand opening. In addition, enough cannot be said about the contributions of the contractors. 

Finally, I'd like to thank retired Air Force Gen. Don Kutyna. General Kutyna has been one of the strongest supporters of 21st SW services programs and the Aquatic Center has definitely benefited from his guidance and direction. In fact, in 1991, General Kutyna was the driving force behind enclosing the pool when he was the commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Space Command. The evolution of the facility since that time is due in large part to his vision and longstanding support. 

Another significant event from last week was the Air Force senior master sergeant promotion release. Team Peterson was fortunate to have 25 individuals selected as part of this process, quite a number considering that only 8.9 percent of those eligible were selected. In fact, across the Air Force, only 1,284 of 14,404 eligible members were promoted to senior master sergeant. It goes without saying that attaining this milestone is a significant accomplishment. The competition is tight and only the best get selected; my congratulations again to those senior NCOs who will become a part of this elite group. You've definitely earned it with your dedication and expertise. 

Also, we hosted U.S. Senator Ken Salazar March 17 for a visit to Peterson. His visit provided a great opportunity to highlight some of the more important issues facing Peterson , including military construction, the "Blueprint 2050" plan and other military issues. We were proud to provide him a first-hand look at some of the projects that would be beneficial to Peterson and the community. 

My personal thanks goes out to Mr. Dave Clapp, 21st CES, for his work in articulating the wing's strategic planning efforts to Senator Salazar, particularly with regard to our 2050 Plan. Executing this plan will greatly increase our force protection capability while also providing additional benefits including enhancements to the West Gate's Powers-Airport interchange and future mission expansion opportunities. 

Next week is an extremely exciting week as we host General and Mrs. C. Robert Kehler for an official wing visit. As many of you know, General Kehler was a previous 21st SW commander. I look forward to updating him on our mission and, more importantly, introducing the Kehlers to many of our wing's Airmen.