Fort Hays State University unveiled its newly renovated, brightly lit, Tiger-emblazoned and wonderfully equipped Wellness Center during an open house today in Cunningham Hall.
"The refurbished and expanded Wellness Center offers top-flight exercise equipment and personal training for health-conscious students, faculty and staff," Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, explained prior to tours of the new facility. "While it is not open to the general public, some members of the surrounding communities will also get to experience the Wellness Center if they're involved in any of our educational programs and research related to health, wellness and fitness."
The Wellness Center has been in operation at the current location -- room 132 in Cunningham Hall -- since it was relocated from a smaller room nearly 20 years ago. "The square footage of the Wellness Center prior to the renovation was 2,839 square feet," the president said. "With the expansion, the new Wellness Center has almost doubled in size, to 5,090 square feet."
The project, which started in August 2006, included relocation of the wrestling practice room to allow for the expansion, the installation of a row of windows looking onto the adjacent student lounge area, renovation of the student lounge, and the extensive renovation of the Wellness Center.
The existing Wellness Center was already heated and cooled, but the expansion into the old wrestling room required those mechanical systems to be added in that area. Ceilings were lowered, new lighting and carpeting were installed throughout, and a new registration desk was constructed. The décor was further enhanced with multiple images of the Victor E. Tiger mascot on light sconces and exercise equipment.
The president said other new features included a sound system with radio, CD, MP3 player and streaming capabilities, nine plasma TVs on the aerobic workout side of the facility, and new free weights and free weight equipment that emphasize safety for the individual user. Students, faculty and staff will find all types of equipment for any fitness level. The facility also is equipped with Cardio Theater, an integrated sound system that makes TV and stereo sound available for private use at each piece of equipment.
"We spent approximately $100,000 on new and upgraded equipment," the president said, explaining that the money came from an action plan in the university's strategic planning process. "In addition, the construction cost for the project was $140,000."
"FHSU has made an investment in the health of all its students, faculty and staff," Dr. Jeff Burnett, assistant professor of health and human performance and director of the Wellness Center, said during the open house. "This facility represents the ongoing commitment by the administration to ensure success for all its FHSU family. This great university has the vision, just as it continues with its outstanding technology, to understand that a healthy student, faculty or staff member has a greater chance to succeed. That is what this facility and this university represent -- success."
Glen McNeil, chair of the Department of Health and Human Performance, thanked President Hammond for his support in the development of a first-rate wellness facility for the FHSU community. "Through his support we have been able to nearly double the size of our old facility and update our equipment," McNeil said. "With the support of the president and the Student Government Association, we were able to purchase some of the best fitness equipment available."
McNeil also thanked Director of Facilities Planning Dana Cunningham, Architectural Intern Troy Steiner, Construction Manager Larry Perkins, and the crews from Facilities Planning and Building Maintenance for their work in designing and building the new Wellness Center.
"They did an excellent job in creating an environment that demonstrates the commitment of the university to the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff," McNeil said. "I believe it is also important to recognize the late Dr. Don Fuertges, former chair of the department, who began the FHSU Wellness Center with a small room in the south end of the building; Dr. Jeff Briggs, dean of the College of Health and Life Sciences, who continued the development and upgrading of the Wellness Center; and Dr. Jeff Burnett, who had the major responsibility of equipping the new facility."
The new Wellness Center opened for use on March 26. The hours of operation are 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. on Friday and 1 to 3 p.m. on weekends. The hours will change to 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer.. Faculty and staff must pay a nominal fee to use the Wellness Center. There is no fee for students. Fitness assessment and personal training services are available free of charge to students, faculty and staff.