New community center under construction at Barksdale

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Construction on a new East Side Community Center at Barksdale Air Force Base began this week.

The new 3,150 square-foot, $1,022,599 facility will be located in Liberty Heights, and offer residents living in the Barksdale Community Housing neighborhood a new amenity to enjoy.

“This will be a huge asset for the base. These residents are 13 miles from the main base and there’s not a lot out there for them, so this will boost morale,” said Barksdale Community Director Dreamer Dowden. “These areas can come together. It gives stay at home parents a place to meet and host some events out there.”

The need for a new activities center was due to the expansion of that residential side of the base. Dowden noted a combined 689 new homes were built in Liberty and Heritage Heights on the East Reservation.

“I hope this facility makes them feel like they are part of our community and not segregated from the rest of Barksdale, now they won’t feel that they’re separated by mileage,” said Dowden.

Sequestration didn’t affect the construction plans because funds for the building came out of a contingent when the new homes were built.

Hunt Companies — an owner, developer, syndicator, funds manager, asset manager and financer of real estate assets — is building the new facility. Amenities will include:

  • Fitness room (with glass windows overseeing the arts & crafts room and state of the art equipment.)
  • Kitchen-equipped clubroom for rent to residents
  • Arts & Crafts / Media room
  • On-site office staff
  • Maintenance shop
  • Covered patio facing the pool (an additional 680 square-feet)
  • Sitting room with a glass fireplace

Dowden noted the importance of a maintenance shop at the facility.

“It will mean less travel for technicians to complete more work orders and take less time to finish jobs,” she said. “The idea was from the teams involved — Barksdale government leadership and Hunt management played with idea.”

Another interesting feature is one that will be what Dowden called “A great tool for parents.”

“There is a secret window in the fitness room where parents can look into the arts and crafts room to check on their children,” said Dowden.

The facility, which had a ceremonial groundbreaking on July 12, is expected to be completed in early 2014.

“We’re excited to begin construction on the East Side Community Center and to continue making Barksdale Air Force Base a rich and welcoming military community for the servicemen and women and their families,” said Dowden.