NEWPORT, RI -- Officials at Naval Station Newport held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new $19.2 million fitness center this week. A congressional delegation from Rhode Island attended the event.

The new 67,000-square-foot fitness facility will replace a World War II-era Quonset hut building built in 1942 that currently serves as the naval station’s gym.

The fitness center will be built to LEED Silver certification standards and will feature a two-lane, 1.5-mile indoor track; a six-lane, 25-meter pool; tennis courts and a softball field.

The design-build contract for the job was awarded to Consigli Construction Co., Inc., Milford, MA, and also includes funding to upgrade existing athletic fields, as well as the demolition of three abandoned WWII-era buildings adjacent to the construction site.

In attendance at the groundbreaking were Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Rep. Patrick Kennedy.

Funding for the project was part of the Department of Defense’s 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC). As a result of the legislation, Naval Station Newport gained the Navy Officer Candidate School and the Naval Supply Corps School. Those relocations will result in 17,500 more students annually at Newport.