WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base USO reopened its doors Monday after suspending operations in March due to COVID-19.
During those months of downtime, the WPAFB USO has conducted extensive repairs and improvements to the center.
“We can’t wait to reopen our doors to our Wright-Patt Airmen and their families,” said operations specialist Gina Franz . “There’s not a room in this building that’s not looking better and feeling more welcoming.”
The center, including the Wright-Patt Airman’s Attic, will reopen carefully. For the first two weeks, hours will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday to Friday. Starting Monday, Nov. 2, hours will expand to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, to eventually include evenings and weekends.
“Slowly but surely, we’ll get this train rolling again,” said Erik Oberg, center manager. “We’ve made some significant changes in order to protect public health and make our operation more efficient.”
All seating in the center has been reorganized to ensure social distancing.
Additionally, the Airman’s Attic donation drop-off procedure has changed. Rather than carrying donations through the USO front doors, donors will now be directed to a dedicated drop-off point at the rear of the building.
The Airman’s Attic donation drop-off hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
“Like every other space in the building, the Attic is looking better than ever thanks to some very hard work by our Attic managers and volunteers,” Oberg said.
Besides the café and Airman’s Attic, the center has revamped its public Wi-Fi, added new common access card-enabled computers, and updated its video gaming systems.
Oberg expressed his thanks to local partners who have supported the Wright-Patt USO during the center renovation.
“Fairborn’s VFW Post 6861 funded a new sink for our Café bar, which is going to be a huge help,” he said. “Also, American Legion Post 707 in Englewood bought a Nintendo Switch gaming console plus extra controllers and games. Our Airmen gamers are going to be delighted.”
Airmen from across WPAFB also pitched in to get the center ready after the renovations were complete, including those from NASIC, the 88th Air Base Wing, and the airmen dormitories, Oberg said.
The Wright-Patt USO is dependent on its volunteers. As the center emerges from its closure, staff look forward to seeing many volunteers return to service, some for the first time in many months.
“While we’re eagerly awaiting the return of our service members and their families, we’re looking forward to seeing our volunteers again just as much,” Franz said.
The Wright-Patt USO will host a grand reopening celebration on Friday, Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.