| Mid-York Weekly
The Community Wellness Center in Hamilton, an outreach of Community Memorial Hospital, has reopened their doors to safely welcome members current and new for a workout that has been created just for them.
Board of Governors member Sam Cooper said the center has exceeded all state requirements to reopen, including adding double the sanitizer stations and spray cleaners, new fresh air intake/exhaust fans and MERV-13 air filtration upgrades. They also added a UV system that will destroy any germs that get past those filters.
All members are required to wear masks at all times and social distance at least six feet apart. Exercise machines have been designated to allow for the proper spacing with only 10 members allowed in the building at a time. The center also closes twice a day for a thorough sanitization.
“I don’t know how to do it any better,” Cooper said.
Cooper said access to Community Memorial Hospital is an invaluable resource to them.
“We needed to expertise of the hospital to be able to ensure we comply with all of the new requirements,” he complimented. “They were here when our inspection took place. When we were looking for someone in HVAC to write a certificate of compliance, Sean (Fadale, Community Memorial’s CEO) got us in touch with theirs. They have been outstanding.”
The center was originally run by the hospital, but they decided to close it back in December 2016. But Cooper and four others formed a volunteer governing board to prove the center could be profitable and Fadale gave them permission to see what they could do.
They reorganized the operation of the center, reducing staff when not needed, adjusting the hours and raising the membership fee a bit, Cooper recalled. They also changed the roll of the trainer so that person was not in charge of running the facility – instead concentrating solely on creating training plans and helping members through their own personalized workouts.
By the end of six months, they had the center back up and running as a self-supporting facility.
They have recently welcomed new trainer Gary Morris, who develops a written program for every member after consulting with their own physicians to see what exercises they are safely able to do. Morris said he had worked out at the center himself previously so he knew about their commitment to providing members a nurturing place to exercise.
He enjoys the one-on-one work he does in meeting with members to create an exercise routine that is unique just for them.
“I like being able to establish programs for people,” he said. “I really enjoy being able to work with them to develop their own plan.”
Exercise equipment includes elliptical cross trainers, treadmills, upper body ergo-meter, stationary bicycles, recumbent bicycles, stair climbers, weight training equipment and free weights.
Cooper said they understand their members have been out of the facility since March and some might not have kept up their exercise regime in that time. They encourage everyone to come back to their former workout slowly and at their own pace.
“We told all members they shouldn’t expect to come back and perform like they did when they left,” he said. “They should reduce their workout levels and times until they can regain the level they were at before.”
Margaret Darby is a longtime Community Wellness Center member, but she admitted she was a bit apprehensive about coming back with the possible spread of COVID still very much an issue. She was quickly relieved by the abundance of precautions taken at the facility, she said, and glad to be back and working with Morris.
“I was worried that I would go during the time best for me and they would already be at their limit,” Darby explained. “I also was wondering if I could really do anything physically adventurous with a mask on. The good news is both of those worries were assuaged the first day.”
After several months of isolation, members have not just missed their regular exercise regimes but also mingling with each other at the center. That is one of the most important offerings there – being able to work out in a friendly, welcoming environment is a major part of what keeps their members motivated to come back.
Exercising with friends is a great boon not only physically but mentally as well, Cooper explained.
“This is not just a gym and it’s not just a fitness center,” he said. “It’s a place to go and socialize and experience the mental wellness of socialization.”
The Community Wellness Center is located at 173 Utica St. #2 in Hamilton in the S&S Plaza. They are open from 5:30 a.m. to noon and 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. every weekday but Fridays when they close at 5 p.m. They are also open from 8:30 to 11:15 a.m. Saturdays.
For more information call 315-825-0163 or email [email protected]
Mike Jaquays is the managing editor for the Mid-York Weekly. For unlimited access to his stories, please subscribe or activate your digital account today. Email Mike Jaquays at [email protected]