New Whiteman Bowling Center nearly complete

  • Published
  • By 2d Lt Matthew Van Wagenen
  • 509 Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Just across the intersection from the 509th Bomb Wing Headquarters building, the new Whiteman Bowling Center is nearing completion.

The Bowling Center is a Quality of Life (QoL) initiative for Team Whiteman anticipated to open in mid-May 2016.

Like the current Stars and Strikes Bowling Center, the new Bowling Center will also have 16 lanes.  However, the new facility is significantly larger than its predecessor.

"The project increased total square footage from the old facility by 17 percent," said Mark Wheeler, 509th Civil Engineering Squadron's Engineer Flight chief. "The current facility is 16,600 square feet, but does not have adequate seating for the snack area, nor party rooms, or a game room.  By expanding the kitchen area, seating area, traffic flow, and adding two party rooms and a game room, the overall building footprint has increased 17 percent to 20,400 square feet."

Another new feature will be large projectors above the pins to allow bowlers to watch sports games, music videos, and other video entertainment options. Additionally, flat-screen monitors above the ball returns will be linked to a new entertainment system, a feature that will enable users to bowl traditional games or play a variety of modified game sets.

The Stars and Strikes Bowling Center has been rated one of the most popular dining options on base, and the new Bowling Center will continue to provide outstanding service while featuring a larger dining area, expanded kitchen and outdoor seating options.

"The staff and I are extremely excited about the new facility and all the advanced state of the art equipment we will be offering," said Pat Schneider, the Bowling Center manager.

Next to the dining area, guests will be able to use a large game room with arcade-style games and billiards tables.

The new Bowling Center will also feature two new party rooms that can be combined into one large room. Both will offer connections to the base computer network for commander's calls and other meetings.

A common question is how we funded the Bowling Center project in the current fiscal climate.  This project was fully funded with Non-Appropriated Funds (NAF), not through Appropriated Funds (APF).  NAF money is generated directly from the community, while APF money is approved by Congress and has rigid rules surrounding its use. For example, facilities like the Whiteman Fitness Center are primarily funded with APF money.  As a result, we don't charge a fee for access to the Fitness Center or the base track. Facilities like the Bowling Center, on the other hand, earn money from their use and these profits are categorized as NAF funds. NAF money is more flexible in its use, allowing base leadership to allocate it toward various QoL improvements. These "pots" of money are separate and not interchangeable.

To put this into perspective, $300,000 of the Bowling Center's total cost was directly funded by contributions from Team Whiteman. This means that the cup of coffee you purchased from the Mission's End and your Labor Day weekend boat rental from Outdoor Recreation directly helped to fund the new Bowling Center.

Once the Bowling Center is operational, the money it earns will combine with the NAF MWR funds from various 509th Force Support Squadron facilities and activities on base, helping fund future QoL initiatives and improvements.

"The facility will increase Whiteman's generated MWR funds and provide increased self-sufficiency throughout the Bowling Center's services," said Janet Judkins, the 509th Contracting Squadron's Infrastructure Flight Chief.

As members of Team Whiteman begin to use the new Bowling Center, this will directly help fund future QoL projects here at Whiteman and help make it a better place for our Total Force Team.