BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - There are more amenities on Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi thanks to the Commander-in-Chief's Installation Excellence Award that the base won last year. That award came with $1 million to go towards quality of life projects. Christina Garcia got a firsthand look at some of these projects and learned why they are so important to Airmen and their families.
A splash pad laden with various ground nozzles and colorful fountains and showers is one of the many quality of life projects Keesler has added since receiving the $1 million Installation Excellence Award.
According to base officials, they could have done anything with that money, like using it towards infrastructure projects. Instead, they wanted to offer a fun atmosphere for families and airmen.
One of the most recent projects to be finished is this Dragon Paintball Park. It features several inflatables that paintballers can hide behind. The course is open to anybody 10 years and older and it's considered a speed course. Each game is really quick lasting about one minute each.
"This has been a great opportunity for us to display what we can do for our children and not just put that money into a project to better a building. We wanted to put it out there where the children and the students could come and enjoy," said Operations Officer for the Support Squadron Major Robert Bouchillon.
This quarter of million dollar splash pad opened this spring and Major Bouchillon says it's been busy ever since.
"Oh the turnout's been outstanding even this splash pad right here. The first day it opened up, the kids came out in droves and you couldn't keep them away from the water," said
Just across the street, is the I-81 running track that's also seeing a lot of activity thanks to five layers of professional grade rubberized coating. This is one of the first projects completed.
"It's well built and it's easy on the joints. It's nice and soft and it's easy to go long distances and the distances are marked. So it works really well for us," said Nick Conger a physician at Keesler who was using the track.
Another quality of life improvement includes batting cages just another development designed to be enjoyed by everyone on base. Some other projects include walkways to the docks, a wooden aerobic room floor and refurbished softball bleachers.