The Warrior Zone, 3910 Indiana Ave., returns to its normal operations 11 a.m. Nov. 24, but this time Soldiers will walk into a building that has been completely refreshed. Country music artist John Rich will give a live performance to welcome back patrons.
At the Warrior Zone, Soldiers can expect a safe place for socializing and camaraderie outside of the unit footprint, said Ryan Noble, community recreation officer, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
The Warrior Zone update includes a revised menu of Soldier favorites including chicken wings with a wide selection of sauces, and new options such as soft pretzel bites with beer cheese and flat breads.
The menu, Noble said, has shareable portions to make snacking while gaming more convenient.
The video gaming amenities, including Alienware, additional Xbox and PlayStation consoles, have been moved to different locations within the building to accommodate the new look and feel of the space.
“We have added two streaming walls to make it so Soldiers can compete against other installations worldwide in virtual gaming tournaments,” Noble said.
Another new feature is the movable furniture that will allow Soldiers to adjust their seating for watching any of the major sports channels offered at the Warrior Zone, gaming, eating or just hanging out with friends.
The games Soldiers enjoyed before are all still there, including air hockey, ping pong, darts, and the basketball shoot-out and boxing area, among others, but the facility has added some additional items including a shuffleboard lane, and life-sized game pieces that can move across the floor, such as chess.
Overall, Noble said, Soldiers can expect to see a completely revitalized facility to call their home away from the barracks. The Warrior Zone is still an adults-only location for age 18 and older, and maintains the protocols established at Fort Campbell for wearing masks and sanitizing for COVID-19 mitigation.
The building, Noble said, hadn’t been substantially renovated for more than 10 years and needed repairs as well as a new look.
With the help of volunteers from the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers, or BOSS, program, Noble and his team looked at interior design and entertainment options offered in urban areas with tourism that is desirable to the single Soldier demographic to get ideas of how they wanted the Warrior Zone to appear. These efforts would ultimately provide a similar experience right here on post, without the travel.
“We basically took ideas from surrounding cities such as Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga and wanted to implement this vision in a building on the installation,” he said.
Staff Sergeant Russell Lovelace, BOSS president, said the work to improve the Warrior Zone included hundreds of volunteer hours provided by Soldiers, which reinforced to him just how important the facility is to service members on the installation.
“We had probably the highest interest in volunteering that we have ever had in this kind of an opportunity,” Lovelace said. “I was very worried at first that the Division Training Density event would prevent many Soldiers from assisting, but I have approved over 800 hours of volunteerism this month and that shows me that Soldiers still want the Warrior Zone.”
Lovelace said he was pleasantly surprised when Soldiers turned up in large numbers to give their free time.
“We have had over 60 Soldiers come to help with this project, which is remarkable,” he said. “We had to organize multiple van trips just to get them to and from the Warrior Zone.”
A necessary retreat
Noble said the Warrior Zone provides an important part of everyday Army life for Soldiers, especially for single Soldiers – down time away from the mental and physical demands of their military career. It will give them a place to decompress and enjoy themselves after a long, perhaps stressful, day. Having a comfortable place to unplug is essential for Soldiers’ mission readiness.
“If Soldiers are able to have a welcoming recreational outlet where they can relieve stress, can turn off their everyday worries and can refresh their minds, they are more mentally fit when they return to duty.” he said. “Once they take off their uniforms and put on their civilian attire, we want them to ease their minds when they come through the door. Our goal is to provide them with a fun and relaxing atmosphere.”