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Haven reopened for Keesler dorm residents

Paintings and a mural are displayed on the wall of the Haven during the Haven reopening Dec. 21, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. The Keesler Five-Six Council helped repaint the Haven and bought decorations to improve the dorm common area for Keesler’s dorm residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Suzanna Plotnikov)

Paintings and a mural are displayed on the wall of the Haven during the Haven reopening Dec. 21, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. The Keesler Five-Six Council helped repaint the Haven and bought decorations to improve the dorm common area for Keesler’s dorm residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Suzanna Plotnikov)

Airman 1st Class Patricia Hebert, 81st Engineering Installation Squadron radio frequency transmissions technician, eats pizza during the Haven reopening Dec. 21, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. Keesler’s private organizations came together to remodel and reopen the Haven to improve the dorm common area for Keesler’s dorm residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Suzanna Plotnikov)

Airman 1st Class Patricia Hebert, 81st Engineering Installation Squadron radio frequency transmissions technician, eats pizza during the Haven reopening Dec. 21, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. Keesler’s private organizations came together to remodel and reopen the Haven to improve the dorm common area for Keesler’s dorm residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Suzanna Plotnikov)

A movie plays on a TV during the Haven reopening Dec. 21, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. Keesler’s private organizations came together to remodel and reopen the Haven to improve the dorm common area for Keesler’s dorm residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Suzanna Plotnikov)

A movie plays on a TV during the Haven reopening Dec. 21, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. Keesler’s private organizations came together to remodel and reopen the Haven to improve the dorm common area for Keesler’s dorm residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Suzanna Plotnikov)

Keesler leadership and Airmen enjoy refreshments during the Haven reopening Dec. 21, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. Keesler’s private organizations came together to remodel and reopen the Haven to improve the dorm common area for Keesler’s dorm residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Suzanna Plotnikov)

Keesler leadership and Airmen enjoy refreshments during the Haven reopening Dec. 21, 2017, on Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. Keesler’s private organizations came together to remodel and reopen the Haven to improve the dorm common area for Keesler’s dorm residents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Suzanna Plotnikov)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Keesler’s private organizations and leadership came together to reopen the Haven, Dec. 21, to showcase the improved dorm common area for team Keesler’s permanent party Airmen.

“It was brought to our attention that this space [Haven] was locked up because it was not being properly maintained,” said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Watts, 81st Training Wing command chief executive assistant. “The private organizations all came together and met at this space. We looked around and saw it had potential.”

The private organizations met for the first time in September and bounced ideas around about how to improve the common area.

They started with a deep cleaning of the space. The Keesler Five-Six Council was in charge of painting and decorations, the Keesler First Sergeants Council collected money that was raised and spent it on needed furniture.

“For some of the Airmen, they don’t have the ability to cook except with a microwave,” said Watts. “With the Haven, they have access to an oven, stove, full-sized refrigerator and a fully functioning kitchen.”

As well as giving Airmen the opportunity to cook their own food, the private organizations hope the Airmen will use the space to interact with one another.

The Haven contains free WiFi, a 55-inch TV, Xbox 360, coffee machine and brand new furniture with 24-hour access.

Watts was excited to see the reactions and hear what the Airmen think of the newly remodeled common area.

“I’m happy to see a kitchen I can utilize and cook my own food,” said Airman 1st Class Patricia Hebert, 85th Engineering Installation Squadron radio frequency transmissions technician.

Hebert arrived at the base recently from technical training and is still adjusting to living in a dorm.

“It’s been a nice transition from technical training to here,” said Hebert. “I’m excited to cook my own meals and try to transition into that rather than ordering out or eating at the dining facilities.”

After working on the remodel for four months, the effort the private organizations put into the common area has finally paid off, according to Watts.

“It is rewarding to see the Haven reopened,” said Watts. “We wanted a place for the Airmen to come, hangout together, not be stuck in their room and for them to comingle and network.”