NAVAL AIR FACILITY EL CENTRO — The aircraft carrier floor is gone, flat screens have been added and a new Sundowner Club has taken shape throughout the past few months.
Now the newly renovated classy club has opened again, and civilians older than 21 years old are invited Wednesdays to mingle with sailors at the nightclub.
The U.S. Navy base between El Centro and Seeley is starting up Ladies Night again, and for the next few weeks civilians don’t have to be on an access list for the weekly event held from 8 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Wednesdays at the Mirage Club. Those attending will still have to have their identification card, car insurance and car registration, but for about four more weeks, there won’t be the required passes that civilians have to apply for. After that period is over, though, people can go online to mwrtoday.com/elcentro/ and find the form to be added to the visitor access list.
Construction work started in late January and went until Feb. 29, when the club reopened its Ladies Night, said base Executive Officer Cmdr. Erik Franzen. During that construction phase renovations have been taking shape, including adding historical items that base Commanding Officer Capt. Devon Jones borrowed from an air museum in San Diego.
Those items on display on the walls and behind the bar also have their own link to the local base, as the plaques on the wall are from attachments that have trained in El Centro, Franzen said. Some space has been left open on the walls, too, so future attachments who come to train in the Imperial Valley can show off their presence.
Along with the plaques on the wall, old photos are hung on one side of the room, showing off the parachute testing that started in the late 1940s, as well as old Blue Angels flying shots.
It’s a total facelift for the Sundowner Club, said Public Affairs Officer Michelle Dee. The whole floor was ripped up, work was done to the bar and the DJ area, and the dance floor was expanded.
Essentially what they have tried to do is make it an inviting place for sailors whose attachments are in El Centro to go, she said. It also gives the public a chance to mingle with those on base.
“It’s a good chance for people to come and feel like they’re part of the base, because we are a part of the community,” Dee said.
The base is always looking to make improvements, and there’s an ongoing goal to make Naval Air Facility El Centro a great base, she said. There’s always work being done to better it.
For more information about the club call 760-339-2319.
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at email@example.com or 760-337-3441.