October 7, 2004 at 8:30 a.m.
Great for the fitness center and for Community Education which runs it, and great for the people themselves.
What is it about this fitness center that after being opened to the publicnearly a year ago, it’s still the best-kept secret in this area?
Is it that people don’t care to sweat where their neighbors might see? Or, anxiety about encountering teenagers at the school building?
It can’t be trouble finding parking, because there’s hundreds of stalls available.
It can’t be pricing because even at two visits per week an adult membership breaks down to about $3 per session. Three times per week and the workouts are $2.
It can’t be the equipment, because the center is state-of-the-art.
About 30 people have memberships in the center, according to Community Education Director Bob Meyer.
He does expect membership to increase in the wintertime, because the high for participation was over 70 members during the introductory sessions last January through March.
“We are covering our costs at this time,” Meyer stressed.
But, there are programs the Community Education department would like to offer and amenities it would like to add to the center when cash-flow improves.
Meyer said the fitness stations (weight machines, bikes and treadmills) can accomodate 30 people working out hourly, or about 15 for each half-hour workout using every station. There’s room for more members, no doubt, he added.
The Community Education Department partnered with the high school administration on opening up the center to the public, with fee-based memberships first offered in February and March 2003.
The introductory package was $65 for three months and now it’s $75 for three months. Students (over age 10) can use the facility for $45.
The center’s hours are 4-8 p.m., Monday through Friday. A trainer is always on duty to set up your workout routine based on your resting and active heart rate, your age and current body composition. There are body analysis machines at the center as part of the initial evaluation.
During summer break the fitness center was open in the early morning hours too, but school use eliminated the a.m. hours.
The center is used by high school phy ed classes and athletes.
It was installed as a research site for the National School Fitness Foundation under the foundation’s LIFT grant program, but that organization is in bankruptcy court.
Chisago Lakes School District paid for the equipment to be installed and the contract called for the district to be reimbursed from the Fitness Foundation on a monthly basis, allowing the district to make its payments on the loan.
Business Services Director Heide Miller mentioned that the Chisago Lakes District and other Minnesota schools who contracted with the foundation are negotiating with the financier Wells Fargo, to reduce the monthly payments. The foundation reimbursement amounted to about $56,000 of an approximately $200,000 commitment before the organization folded, she said.
To enroll in the fitness center, you can visit the center any day between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. or go on line to www.clceonline.com for membership information. The Community Education phone is 213-2600.
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