NEWS | Sept. 3, 2020

Joint Efforts Lead to Gym Soft Reopening

By Story by Sgt. Khylee Woodford U.S. Army Central

Soldiers from the Base Support Battalion, Camp Buehring, collaborated with leadership across the Area Support Group - Kuwait footprint to kick off the soft reopening of the Morale, Wellness, and Recreation's (MWR) main fitness center September 3, 2020, on Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

The event marked a step toward reopening indoor fitness facilities at the base, said U.S. Army Lt. Col Randy L. McClendon, BSB commander.

"It was truly a collaborative effort here, we've taken requests from our lowest level folks all the way up to our highest level, seeing how we can best get at this problem," said McClendon.

Senior leaders were given an opportunity to observe Soldiers utilizing the gym with new COVID-19 mitigation practices set in place, giving them better insight into improving safety.

"This initiative was part of a conditions based approach," said McClendon. "We identified what the measures are, and are balancing them with our readiness requirements.”

Some of the safety measures included; pre-registration, restricted workout areas, limited cardio equipment, mandatory cleaning, and social distancing.

MWR staff and departments throughout ASG-KU were integral in implementing these practices for the soft reopening, McClendon described.

"We are working with all our MWR folks and all their directorates with the Director of Installation Services having a heavy paddle in the water," said McClendon. "We can't do it without the Departments of Public Works or the borrowed manpower that is coming from the tenant Soldiers. This took a wide team to pull this together."

Camp Buehring MWR Recreation supervisor Morgan Steele, a key contributor to the reopening efforts, discussed the importance of leaders observing Soldiers throughout the "crawl phase."

"We are practicing our process here," said Steele. "We're making sure we are mitigating all risks of COVID, keeping all soldiers safe and all my employees safe as well."

Steele provided a tour of the facility, briefing leaders on the need for a continued joint effort.

“With the 10 feet spacing in between each individual equipment area...we are mitigating risks, so no one gets COVID, and no one gets sick," said Steele. "We need everyone on board to make this happen."

The soft opening also garnered a visit from U.S. Army Maj. General Steven Ferrari, commander of Task Force Spartan.

"We are working very tightly with teammates from ARCENT, Task Force Spartan from ASG-KU, to every tenant unit that's here," said McClendon.

Although the gym has not officially reopened, McClendon hopes this trial phase reflects the team’s commitment to its service members.

"This demonstrates the loyalty that we, the leadership, have with our Soldiers, with our teammates and with every single person here on this base," said McClendon. "Sadly, it doesn't happen overnight, it did take some time. As it stands right now, I think we are in a good place."

The gym hours are currently 0600-1300, Monday - Thursday, with pre-registration required at the Buehring’s BSB. No walk-ins are being accepted; limited capacity is slated to be enforced.