Lodging adds busines lounge

Jacqueline MacGowan, front desk manager for the March Inn, and Henry Frye, club operations assistant, enjoy the plush chairs in the new business lounge at March Air Reserve Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt Amy Abbott, 452 AMW/PA)

Jacqueline MacGowan, front desk manager for the March Inn, and Henry Frye, club operations assistant, enjoy the plush chairs in the new business lounge at March Air Reserve Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt Amy Abbott, 452 AMW/PA)

Giuseppe LaBella, general manager of the March Inn, demonstrates the new operating systems installed on the three computers in the business lounge at March Air Reserve Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt Amy Abbott, 452 AMW/PA)

Giuseppe LaBella, general manager of the March Inn, demonstrates the new operating systems installed on the three computers in the business lounge at March Air Reserve Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt Amy Abbott, 452 AMW/PA)

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. -- The walls are painted burnt almond and accentuated with rich tapestries. On one side, four invitingly plush chairs surround a circular designer table and on the other, a work
station offers access to state of the art technology.  Soft tunes escape from a stereo that rests beneath a 32-inch flat screen television and in the corner sits a humble bookshelf next to a fireplace set in brick. 

It looks like a page taken right from Home and Garden magazine, but it's not.

Business Lounge that opened Monday and the innovative design credit goes to Guiseppe LaBella, general manager of the Inn, and his creative staff. 

"I think the Business Lounge turned out exactly as we expected. We wanted convenience and comfort with internet accessibility in one location for our guests," said Iris Alexander, Services Chief for the 452nd Services Flight. "My hope is the response will be as popular as any upscale hotel business center." 

The lounge, for which brainstorming began a year ago, not only meets a recent Air Force requirement which necessitates that bases have a business center, but, according to the staff who created it, is much more than just an answer to a mandatory requirement. 

"I was looking at the base in general and realized that we do not have a library or a place where people can just sit and relax," said Labella. "So we made this really warm, inviting and relaxing. That was just the type of environment we were trying to create." 

Hence, the reason lounge was put in its name. Located right between the March Inn
reception area and Java and Juice, the place literally begs one to grab a hot cup of Joe
and sit by the fireplace with a good book. Or instead, if you need to do a little extra office work outside of a bland cubicle or simply want to contact home via the internet, the Business Lounge provides all of that too. 

"We have the newest technology, offering the most advanced computer setup out right now," said Gabriel Gill. 

As operations manager for the March Inn, Gill personally picked out all the hardware,
choosing Windows Vista, a top of the line operating system which just came out last
month, and large, flat screen monitors to view it on. The internet is open access, which
means there are no restrictions and users can check personal email accounts. In addition, he is installing a wireless printer that will allow guests to print from their laptops while sitting outside in the Inn's courtyard. 

To use the computers, guests have to sign out a wireless mouse from the front desk, and there is a thirty minute limit if there are other people in line. But, if you are waiting and not in a book reading mood, the Business Lounge is also equipped with a wall mounted television on which guests can watch movies.

"This is certainly a positive reflection on Services. It makes us competitive with most luxury hotels that have state of the art business centers," said Alexander. "We also have plans to expand technologically in other areas in Lodging and the Hap Arnold Club, which recently began offering free WiFi access. The Business Lounge is just one of many changes Services is planning to improve overall to meet the challenges of the 21st century." 

Labella added the challenges are still coming and improvements on the base still being made, but Services is definitely moving in the right direction - and just because March is a Reserve base, that in no way means the Airmen and others staying here are to expect anything less than the best. 

"Even though we are a Reserve base, we act just like an active duty base and maintain
the same standards of service," he said. "A lot of the (March Inn) buildings have been remodeled and when we finish the one we are working on now, we will have one building left to do out so, this Business Lounge is just icing on the cake." 

By a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work, what once was a simple reception area has now been transformed into a multi-functioning work area and lounge complemented by a groovy ambiance and nestled in a convenient location. 

"I think this whole project exceeded everyone's expectations," Gill said. "This will
definitely be the place to be once people find out about it." 

(Due to the Air Force's decision to move the main telephone switch onto the base from its previous location, there 'currently' is no internet access in the lounge, since these computers are not connected to the March base network. This problem is hoped to
be resolved within six weeks.)