FORT BLISS, TX -- The Army is preparing to dedicate its largest physical fitness facility on July 7—the 96,000-square-foot Joshua W. Soto Physical Fitness Facility at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas.
The $22 million facility includes nearly $2 million in equipment and fixtures. It includes a 10,000-square-foot weight room, a spin room that accommodates 60 bikes and a cardio room large enough to house 60 treadmills, 60 ellipticals, 60 bikes, 20 stair steppers and 10 rowing machines.
Fort Bliss launched several recent construction projects to accommodate increased troop levels prompted by the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) project. In 2005, the base had 9,300 soldiers. Soon, the East Fort Bliss population is expected to reach 22,000 soldiers, and the main post is expected to have 9,000 soldiers. The Army spent about $1 billion on construction there last year alone.
The Soto facility also has an indoor 1/10th-mile running track, a combatives room, two basketball courts, a fitness assessment room, a concession area and locker rooms and showers that can accommodate 130 people at a time.
In addition, the building features a 24-person conference room and a 2,000-square-foot recreation space with pool tables, gaming equipment and computers for soldiers to use.
The facility is named in honor of Joshua W. Soto, who died June 16, 2009, while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a member of 1st Battalion, 77th Armor Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. Construction on the facility began in January 2009, and a soft opening was held on June 17.