MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Members of the Cherry Point community will have a new complex to conduct athletics in the future. A new sports complex is being built across from the Child Development Center where Lanham Housing once stood.
“The athletic complex will be built in stages,” said Chester A. Conklin, the facilities director for Cherry Point. “The initial stage will be the removal of debris, building up of the slope of the ground and finally the laying of sod and seeding of the remaining area.”
When finished, the new sports complex will cover 15 acres and will serve as a safer place to conduct combat fitness tests and physical training sessions rather than using the open road. The complex will also have restrooms and extra parking space.
“After this is done we will move to stage two in the future. Until then the complex will be opened for use by the public for practices and intramural games,” said Cmdr. Kevin K. Juntunen, a facilities engineer and the resident officer in charge of construction for Cherry Point.
Juntunen said after the complex is finished it will be the site of a running track, two athletic fields, a combat fitness test site and beach-like volleyball courts.
“We are trying to make sure the fields that are currently being used for all athletics get a chance for a break,” said Juntunen. “They are being torn up by the constant use and that is why this new complex is so vital. The softball fields never get a break. They start to be severely damaged in the outfields which are causing headaches for the athletic grounds crews trying to prepare them for the next sport.”
Conklin said the importance of the new complex goes beyond just needing relief for the other fields and Juntunen agreed. The first stage of the sports complex is tentatively scheduled to be finished at the end of June and open for use after a few months.
“Above all, the reason why this complex is needed is because the Marine Corps and Navy are putting a huge priority on individual fitness of its service members,” said Juntunen. “This is going to give the individual Marine and Sailor a chance to go and run in a safer environment. It is also going to be a place where the Marine Corps can run the CFT in a safe place with level ground and no holes.”
Cherry Point residents are looking forward to the full completion of the sports complex and look forward to having a place to run other than on the running trail.
“It is perfect timing,” said Cpl. Richard D. Hill, a motor transport mechanic with Marine Air Support Squadron 1. “I have been waiting a long time for the air station to have a track. It is greatly needed, and I believe it will increase the safety of the runners on the air station.”