MCCS In Depth

Aaron Pylinski | Community Writer

What is MCCS doing to improve the Intramural Sports program?

Intramural sports provide a great outlet for releasing stress and building bonds of teamwork. However, getting enough participation for the MCCS Intramural Sports program remains its biggest challenge. Timing is another issue because participants have either conflicting schedules due to other events or deployment schedules.

To accommodate and provide better access to service members residing in the Northside housing, volleyball, and basketball are moving to IronWorks North. Semper Fit is preparing for the increasing number of active duty and their spouses in the months to come by hosting some events, tournaments, and sports activities. In March, registration is open for the Commander’s Cup Winter Flag Football and Softball. Also with IronWorks Atago now open, Semper Fit is excited to hold spring and summer events at their outdoor fields.

Semper Fit is also offering the Commander’s Cup Gladiator Tournament this fall and winter. This tournament includes “strong man” style events such as tug-of-war and is run similarly to a field day event. The new paintball activity coming to MCAS Iwakuni opens the future possibility of intramural tournaments being held jointly with that activity.

Like most MCCS activities, staffing and availability of participants are the biggest issues.

With that being said, Semper Fit is working to accommodate those service members who frequently deploy by shortening the Intramural Sports seasons so teams can maintain continuity and remain competitive as well as adding a variety of new options available to more personnel on station.

Other than athletic facilities, there are not a lot of recreation or entertainment outlets for children either on or off the installation. What is MCCS doing about it?

MCCS plans to transform the Strike Zone Bowling Alley into the installation’s Family Fun Center within the next 12 months. The first (and easiest) step was accomplished when MCCS relocated the slots and gaming machines from the Strike Zone to the Temporary Lodging Facility (TLF).

Later this summer MCCS is taking on a much needed $400,000 project to improve the Strike Zone by upgrading the lighting and furnishings to enhance the bowling experience for patrons. Finally, MCCS is currently in discussions with NAMCO, the Japanese corporation that operates games and arcades in Japan.

The objective is to transform the unoccupied section of the Strike Zone into an amusement center that resembles what you would find in a Dave & Buster’s establishment in the United States. MCCS recognizes the need for more family entertainment options and is excited about this ambitious project.

With all the new facilities that have been constructed aboard the installation, is Club Iwakuni also going to be replaced?

Not anytime soon. Club Iwakuni was constructed in 1999 as a consolidated club activity with the intent of keeping the various ranks (Officer, SNCO, NCO & Below) separate. If you visit the club frequently, you’ll notice that there are separate entrances. As a result, the building is extremely compartmentalized and lacks cross corridor access where the spaces within the club do not complement each other.

Since new construction appears to be years away and other funding sources are not available for renovation purposes, MCCS will have to incrementally “refresh” the club over the next few years.

The opening of the new Hangar Club on the north side of the installation will reduce some of the burdens off Club Iwakuni while also providing a great relaxation and entertainment venue for NCOs & below. Additionally, Bueno Burrito - our home grown Mexican concept restaurant - will open later this spring in the old pro shop in the northeast corner of Club Iwakuni. We are also hoping to revitalize JD’s Grille with a new image and menu later this year.

It is also the intent of MCCS to consolidate our two slots and gaming rooms into a larger space inside the club. There are no shortage of projects to enhance Club Iwakuni. It will take our commitment, time, and financial resources to continue to provide quality service for our patrons.

I’ve heard SOFA personnel can use the nearby Atago Sports Complex free of charge. How can I reserve to use the facility?

The Atago Sports Complex provides world-class sports and recreation facilities for SOFA personnel. The complex is jointly maintained by Iwakuni City and MCAS Iwakuni. It consists of a baseball stadium (with seating for 8,000 spectators), two softball fields, a 400-meter track and field venue (including soccer field), plus outdoor courts for basketball, sand volleyball, and tennis.

Additionally, it contains a cultural center that includes a classroom for cooking and a ceremonial tea room. Kizuna Stadium and the softball fields have been in operation since last November, and the rest of the complex’s facilities are expected to become available within a few months.

Any individual or group can make same day walk-in reservation or up to a 30-day advanced reservation request by visiting the Atago Sports Complex Administrative Office or by calling 0827-35-5089 from 8 AM to 9 PM, or sending an email to [email protected]

Submission of a Reservation Request Form and presentation of DoD ID cards at the Admin Office before the time of use is required for SOFA personnel to utilize the facilities and be exempt from usage fees. Jogging paths, the indoor jogging track, and playgrounds are normally available for anyone’s use without reservation. For further information, please refer to MCASO 1710.2.