February 13, 2013

Wellness Center ready to open

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

It is ironic that almost 20 years ago to the date, Watford City citizens began considering the idea of adding a wellness center to their community, and now they are a week away from opening the doors on a new, two-story, 20,000 sq. ft. community fitness facility.
Before the Healthy Hearts Wellness Center became an actuality, Connie Wold held wellness and fitness classes in the basement of McKenzie County Bank.
Connie Wold had always been an avid champion for people’s wellness as well as a fitness motivator. She drew people into bettering their health and strove for the same in her own life. The Connie Wold Wellness Center is named for Connie, not only because of the passion for fitness she exhibited in her life, but because it, too, will lure people of all fitness levels into bettering their physical condition.
“Connie always told me that the hardest thing you will ever do when getting in shape, is walk through the door. Once you walk through the door, you will realize you belong here,” Tricia Sundeen, supervisor of the Connie Wold Wellness Center states. “She enlisted me into teaching yoga classes while I was working for First International Bank and I can still remember her telling me, ‘Don’t forget that you want them to come back.’ That statement has become my main goal for this building, that it would be a place people would want to come back to.”
According to Sundeen and Benefit Fund of MCHS Director Kristin Bolken, gone are the days of small, smelly workout spaces and having to wait for a treadmill to come available. People will no longer have to work out in close, cramped quarters and feel awkward around people of higher fitness levels or different fitness goals.
“We can offer more classes than we could before, and the quality of equipment is better than it ever was in the old building,” states Bolken. “The Healthy Hearts Wellness Center was a great building and it served its purpose, but it has outlived its use.”
The Healthy Hearts Wellness Center was roughly 4,500 sq. ft. At its start, until two to three years ago, it served roughly 15 people a day. When the Connie Wold Wellness Center project began, it started serving roughly 50 to 70 people a day.
The new wellness center building will offer a large and open area for cardio and strength training, a walking/running track, two therapy/endless pools, an aerobics classroom for 25 to 30 participants, a dedicated spinning bike classroom, a dedicated free weight station, expanded locker rooms, outpatient physical therapy, a beverage bar and seating area, 24-hour limited access and Amy’s Room.
“We have separated the heavy weight area from the cardio and circuit training and were just able to spread out the fitness space so people could feel comfortable coming in no matter what their fitness level,” states Bolken.
The Connie Wold Wellness Center logo contains a circle around the C in Connie’s name. According to Sundeen, it is meant to represent a bicycle wheel because Connie loved biking.  The circle is also meant to symbolize Connie’s love for fitness and the desire the Watford City community, that named the wellness center in her memory, has to not see Connie’s love of fitness end.
The Connie Wold Wellness Center is a collaborative fundraising effort of McKenzie County, the City of Watford City, the Roughrider Fund, the Benefit Fund of the McKenzie County Healthcare Systems, and donations from people and businesses in the community.
“When I look at this building I see everyone’s generosity and contributions that they have given to allow this project to take place,” states Bolken.
For that reason, both Bolken and Sundeen state that they are striving to care for the facility in such a way as to be good stewards of the money people have donated.
“My goal is to make this a facility that will work for everyone,” states Bolken. “I just ask that everyone be patient as we listen to all the member concerns and try to make policies that are best for the whole of this facility.”
It will be an evolving process of finding out what works and doesn’t work for everyone, but Bolken states that it is a process meant to keep the facility in the best shape possible for those it serves.
The building is scheduled to open on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 7 a.m. Sundeen states that everyone, member or non-member, will have to register as a member through a new software system, due to the fact that the building will be equipped with a security system and limited 24-hour access.
“Please bear in mind that it is a new system, and we are new to it, so it will take time to get everyone’s membership squared away,” states Sundeen.
The Wellness Center has an up-to-date Facebook page and any changes to the building’s status or opening date will be clearly posted at the building and on Facebook.