School age military children will find plenty to keep them busy when a new $5.1 million youth center opens next week on Naval Air Station Pensacola’s Corry Station
The 11,000-square-foot facility, which can accommodate 125 children, includes four colorful activity rooms, a teen center and a homework technology center along with an outdoor playground and a covered recreation/basketball area.
NASP Commanding Officer Capt. Christopher Martin and other officials got an early look at the newly completed center during a ribbon-cutting ceremony recently.
Martin was impressed with the interior design of the building and the outdoor recreation options that are available.
“This is an awesome facility,” he said.
Jack Reed, operations officer for Naval Air Station Pensacola’s Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR), agreed.
“This is a great facility, not only for the warfighter but for their family members as well,” Reed said. “It really encompasses what MWR and the Navy is all about.”
The new facility will also benefit younger children, Martin said, because the NASP Corry Station Child Development Center (CDC) next door will be able to reconfigure the previously shared space and increase its ability to care for children ages newborn to 5 years.
The five-year project was a collaboration between the general contractors Whitesell-Green and NavFac. STOA Architects was the architect for the facility.
Linda Delaney, director of NASP’s Navy Child and Youth Programs (CYP), said school age children have been sharing space at the CDC since 1997.
Trudy Corbin, a contracting officer based at NASP, said members of the CYP team were consulted at every step, but the needs of the children were the first priority during the planning process.
The goal was to make the building unique.
“We wanted to get the bright colors in,” Corbin said. “We wanted to make sure that the designer knew that we were not going for typical military or hospital-cut corners. We wanted to make sure that when the kids came in they felt comfortable and they had their own space.”
Billy Whitesell, vice president of Whitesell-Green, said the cooperative environment had a positive effect on the project.
“Everybody is on the same team and we get it done,” he said. “It just came out great. It is totally custom-built.”
The building also qualified for Silver Leed (Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design) certification, Whitesell said. The U.S. Green Building Council awards LEED certification based on efficient use of resources.
Martin praised the efforts that were put into this project, and encouraged all of those involved to keep up the good work.
“The work that you do with our children is absolutely critical,” Whitesell said.