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Hansen Center renovations to expand existing services

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By ERIC PILGRIM

Next to the Automotive Skills and Service Center and the Gammon Physical Fitness Center on post is an unassuming building undergoing a makeover.

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The Hansen Center is home to the Information, Ticketing & Registration office; frame shop; and consignment store, and Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation officials say at least two of the offices are set to expand and modernize.

“It’s going to start with a new entryway and new finishes – new tile and carpeting, paint and more efficient lighting,” said Mark Wicker, chief of Community Recreation Division, DFMWR.

“We’re knocking down some walls [in ITR] to make a more customer- friendly experience and also at the consignment store, where it’s going to be a lot more open.”

The building was first constructed in the early 1990s as an arts and crafts center and woodworking shop, complete with table saws, planers, table routers, drills, vices and more.

“Back in those days you could pretty much see one of those multi-arts and crafts centers on practically every post in the Army inventory,” Wicker said. “But the appropriate funding that supported those activities began running out and concurrent with that, the demand for that type of skill- building activity … was also reduced.”

To keep up with changing times and needs for Soldiers and their Families in the early 2000s, DFMWR converted some of the existing space into the three offices that exist now, and an area in the back became a storage warehouse.

The next change to the building came around 2005, according to Wicker, when the need arose for a community activities center.

At the same time, Child and Youth Services and the Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills Unlimited programs were looking for additional space.

The changing times and needs for Soldiers and their Families have once again necessitated a renovation project to the building.

“It is truly a multiuse facility now combining with the CYS and SKIES programs in there,” said Wicker. “That was one of the reasons leading up to why we did what we did. There was largely underutilized space. Over half the building was a storage facility.”

Gabriele Ruiz, manager of ITR and the consignment store, said she is eager about all the changes coming to the center.

“We are very excited,” said Ruiz. “This will make our offices more customer-friendly. Inventory is pretty good, but we can expand the services we provide.”

Wicker said they are working closely with Directorate of Public Works officials to ensure minimum impact to customers during the renovations. Office footprints are being reduced and some swing-space shuffling taking place to accomplish this.

Robert Walker, construction services inspector at DPW, said renovations are expected to be complete sometime in the spring. Once accomplished, Walker said the swing space has the potential of becoming an additional service, depending on changing needs. n