CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - An announcement to reduce Visitor Center hours aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune caused quite a stir on Thursday.
Base officials announced that the Visitor Center hours will be reduced from a 24-hour operation to 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and closed on weekends.
A few hours later, base officials suspended the plan indefinitely.
"We underestimated the public reaction to this," said Nat Fahy, Director of Public Affairs at Camp Lejeune.
Fahy said that the change was an effort to increase efficiency and decrease spending.
"We're the only base in the Marine Corps practicaly that operates 24-7," said Fahy.
Officials state that during the day, there's a visitor pass request nearly every minute. That number drops significantly overnight.
The decision to reduce the visitor center hours came after officials carefully studied the issue and collected data. Fahy concedes that the decision came too quickly and caused public confusion.
"We weren't pulling up the draw bridges, the base is an open base," said Fahy.
Fahy says with a community as large as Camp Lejeune, it can be difficult to get used to change.
"We didn't articulate exactly what would go on, well enough, and we gave people a very little short time window to adjust, and so in moving forward we're going to look at what the public reaction was here," said Fahy.
For now, the Visitor Center will operate around the clock.