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Marine Forces Pacific

Photo by LCpl R. Drew Hendricks

Marines say facility 'worth the wait' at Camp Smith recreation center grand opening

9 Feb 2007 | Lance Cpl. R. Drew Hendricks

A Maile lei untying ceremony was held to commemorate the grand opening of the Camp Smith Recreation Center here, Feb. 9. After waiting for nearly a year and half, the Marines now have a place to relax.The Marines took a tour of what is not only their place to relax and unwind, but also their chow hall, movie theatre and more. The recreation center boasts an array of technological playthings, such as: four Xbox 360’s and Playstation 2’s, a movie theatre with Bose surround speakers and computers with free Internet access. It also has some familiar recreational toys, including Foosball, pingpong and pool tables. All together the new facility cost more than $600,000 to complete.“This place has drastically changed from what it used to be,” said Cpl. Edwin Ortiz, an administrative clerk here. “It’s an impressive change.”When the Camp Smith Recreation Center was first closed and stripped for renovations in September 2005, it was a great sign for the Marines, according to Master Gunnery Sgt. Dennis Walton, plans and operations chief, G-5, Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. It meant new furniture, better electronic equipment, a small movie theatre and most importantly, new kitchen equipment.The kitchen was the most significant because the Marines here have no chow hall, said Walton. Without a kitchen, the Marines were left with very few healthy meal options.Along with everything else the kitchen is up and running and ready for use.“The kitchen is by far the nicest part of the facility,” said Dan Dufrene, the health promotions coordinator, here. “This is good, because it also happens to be the most important.”There were many reasons behind the construction delays. The major delay came from a word conflict in the contract, said Gabriela Black, the former Single Marine and Sailor Program coordinator here in an interview last year. In the first draft, the word “renovation” was used. It was determined that it was not a renovation, but a reconstruction. As such, the contract had to be sent back to Headquarters Marine Corps for clarification.This was something the command said was unfortunate and certainly not something they simply disregarded, according to Col. Mark Dungan, former commanding officer, MARFORPAC Headquarters and Service Battalion. “I was in communication with MCCS every week to ensure this task was completed as quickly as possible,” said Dungan. “This was a top priority.”Even after all the bumps in the road, the Marines have what was promised to them and then some.“It’s a terrific facility,” said Dufrene, also the former SMSP coordinator, here. “It’s going to be a nice addition to the community here.”The recreation center is available to unaccompanied active duty service members E5 and below, equivalent Department of Defense civilians and their sponsored guests. It will be open seven days a week. Hours of operation will be Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m, Friday 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.“This place definitely beats driving off base to have fun any day,” said Sgt. Wendell Smith, motor transportation chief here. “I know after work I will be here.”The entire project took a great deal of hard work and a great deal of money, but according to Brig. Gen. Steven A. Hummer, commanding general, Marine Corps Base, Hawaii, it’s an important investment. “We put a lot of burden on our Marines,” said Brig. Gen. Hummer. “They need a place to recharge and re-sharpen; because our Marines are worth their weight in gold.”
Headquarters Marine Corps