The U.S. Navy’s plan to build a $50 million fitness center at a San Diego base was the subject of criticism during a Senate hearing on military spending last week.
Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who chairs the Senate Armed Services’ Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee, said that it would be irresponsible to approve the proposed budget for the facility at Naval Base Coronado.
“At a time when our nation is facing fiscal cuts, I have a hard time seeing how we can justify spending $50 million on a single fitness center,” McCaskill said.
The senator also said that the year-round temperate weather in San Diego made exercising outdoors a reasonable prospect. However, a Navy spokesperson who testified at the hearing argued that the facility’s price was reasonable because it was expected to serve around 80,000 people.
According to the Naval Base Coronado website, the San Diego area is home to approximately 129,000 U.S. Navy servicemen and their family members, and the Navy currently operates 12 fitness facilities of varying sizes and amenities in the San Diego area.
Multiple media agencies have reported that the plans for the fitness facility would include a $20 million gym, a $7.5 million swimming pool and a $4 million recreation center for single sailors.
In 2010, the Office of the Secretary of Defense provided $8 million in funding to the Navy to purchase fitness equipment for shore-based fitness centers, plus another $40 million for fitness facility upgrades, according to Lisa Sexauer, program manager, Navy Fitness, Sports and Deployed Forces Support Commander, Navy Installations Command. Sexauer also is a new member of the Club Industry advisory board.
Those upgrades could help with the implementation of the branch’s comprehensive new fitness and nutrition program, Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling Series (NOFFS), which was introduced last year and is being rolled out in command fitness leader training across the country.