WHLLG Designs US Navy's 1st Family Entertainment Center & Recreation Mall

The White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group of Kansas City, Missouri recently completed design of the US Navy's 1st family entertainment center (FEC) to be located at the Naval Air Station (NAS) in Brunswick, Maine. Randy White, CEO of White Hutchinson, said the US military is undertaking an extensive upgrading of all their moral, welfare and recreation (MWR) facilities worldwide. The purpose of the NAS Brunswick project is to help retain military families on the base by offering them leisure amenities specifically tailored to their needs. The center is currently under construction for an opening in the spring of 2001.

The FEC is being developed as an addition and renovation of the existing bowling center. The facility will have over 20,000 square feet of interior space and include:

  • a food court with a gourmet coffee café, a pizza shop and an A&W Restaurant with a drive-thru,
  • a children's edutainment area with soft-contained-play, construction play, do-it-yourself face painting, an art studio, pretend dress-up and a pretend play house,
  • a games area with redemption games and a redemption prize counter,
  • a multi-purpose area that can accommodate two private birthday parties, movies, meetings and other activities, and
  • the base's central information, ticket and tours (ITT) office.

In a landscaped plaza area at the entrance to the FEC, there will be a patio dining area, a children's water playground, and two dry playground areas-one for children 2 to 5 years old and one for older children.

Vicki Stoecklin, Education and Child Development Director of WHLLG, said that all the children's play events are being designed to follow the highest standards of 'developmentally appropriate practice' to assure that activities are learning-thru-play rather than just amusement like most civilian FECs. The center is being developed under the philosophy that military families deserve the best and developmentally appropriate play is the best leisure activity for children. For the children, it is just a blast of fun, while at the same time it is nourishing to their development.

The FEC is being developed under a new experimental military IDIQ (Indefinite Quantity) Program that is a hybrid of fast track and design/build.

Unlike civilian FECs, admission and use of the FEC areas will be free.

Mainerd the Moose, the base's official mascot, will make regular appearances at the facility.