January 12, 2011

Wellness Center fund drive tops halfway point

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer
It’s a new year, and with that comes a popular New Year’s resolution, getting healthy or losing weight. Achieving both of these goals is often accomplished by joining a gym. And in Watford City, the Healthy Hearts Wellness Center has become a very popular place.
Normally, growing gym memberships would be a good problem to have. However, with only 4,500 square feet of workout space, the current Healthy Hearts Wellness Center can’t keep up with its growing number of members or fitness industry trends because of its size. But thanks to several large donations, a new wellness center in Watford City is an even closer reality than fundraisers expected it to be.
Significant contributions in recent months have helped the project reach its halfway point.
“McKenzie County Healthcare Systems is a tremendous asset to our area,” says Jane Swenson, McKenzie County Bank. “Having a wellness center as a part of our healthcare system brings many benefits, and being able to help people of all fitness abilities is a goal of the new Wellness Center. That was also one of Connie Wold’s goals.  McKenzie County Bank is therefore pleased to support the Connie Wold Naming Gift for the new Wellness Center with a pledge of $50,000.”
Other large contributions include $100,000 from Power Fuels, $100,000 from the Leland Stenehjem Family Foundation and First International Bank & Trust, $100,000 from the Watford City Community Benefit Association and $50,000 from Frontier Energy Group.
“We are happy to make a donation to the new Wellness Center knowing it will have a positive effect on peoples lives and the community,” states Gretchen Stenehjem, representative for the Leland Stenehjem Family Foundation.
“Going forward, we continue to need those gifts of $1,000 or more, and we need support from everyone, whether it is $5, $50 or $100,” adds Kristin Bolken, Benefit Fund of McKenzie County Healthcare Systems director. “It all adds up and will help get us to the finish line.”
The new wellness center will offer 24-hour access and will include a large open gym, an aerobics classroom, a spinning bike area, a suspended running track, a therapy pool, a childcare playroom, outpatient physical therapy, a golf simulator and a beverage bar. But a facility like that comes with a hefty price tag.
The new center comes with a price tag of $3,822,300. So far, McKenzie County has agreed to fund $750,000, the City of Watford City has agreed to fund $800,000, the Roughrider Fund has agreed to fund $500,000 and the Physical Therapy Department will be funding $475,000, which leaves $1,297,300 in funding left up to fundraising efforts.
For her efforts in bringing awareness of health and wellness to Watford City, a group of Watford City residents have made it their goal to name the new wellness center after the late Connie Wold. The group has started the Community Campaign to Name the Connie Wold Wellness Center, a fundraising campaign to raise $801,000 in Connie’s name.
“We are over the halfway point,” says Bolken. “The fundraising is going way better than we projected in this time period, but we still have a big final push and are going to need everyone’s help to meet our end goal. However, the McKenzie County Healthcare Systems intends to break ground in May 2011. Therefore, we are seeking contributions and pledges of funding urgently this winter.”
In addition to the planned fundraising, the Benefit Fund will continue fundraising past the $997,300 because the final costs for the total project are still pending. Therefore, the Benefit Fund is stating that it is working to raise an additional $456,350 to ensure that enough funds are raised.
For more information on the new wellness center or to make a contribution, Bolken can be reached at 842-4606.