Fitness facility closing to save hospital money - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fitness facility closing to save hospital money

by Danielle Wagner

WAVERLY (KWWL) The slumping economy means some people are going to have to find a new place to workout.

To save around $200,000 a year, the Waverly Health Center is closing Health Promotion February 28.

"It was a really tough pill to swallow. Last year this happened and a group of us got together and explained why we would like to see it stay open," said Health Promotion Member Bill Hemmes.

But this year, finances are too tight to keep the facility open.

"This is something we didn't take lightly, and we wish we didn't have to do but this is a small part of an overall cost reduction plan," said Waverly Health Center CEO Mike Trachta.

Trachta said the hospital is doing all it can to help members find a new place to stay in shape, including a deal with The W on the Wartburg College campus.

"Not having any inititation fee, and keeping the rates at The W the same as the hospital rates until June," said Trachta.

"I think it's right around 12 orientation classes through the month of Februrary where people who have been members at the hospital to come here, learn about the equipment, learn about the facility, get a tour and see if it's for them," said The W Executive Director Jim Langel.

About two-thirds of Health Promotion members are at least 60 years old. Some feel The W is more for the young, college student and they won't fit in. But staff at the W say that's not the case.

"We're here for the person who wants to prepare for a triathlon, but also the person who wants to walk up the steps comfortably again," said Langel.

While disappointed Health Promotion is closing, Bill Hemmes visited The W and decided to become a member.

"I like to play tennis and it's the only place with indoor courts. I might swim a little bit, and do the other things I've been doing here," said Hemmes.

Some Health Promotion members are concerned about losing access to a warm water therapy pool, but we're told the pool will remain open and The W staff will teach classes.

Mike Trachta said Health Promotion has never made money, and opened when no other workout opportunties were available in Waverly. He said with tighter economic times and other, better wellness facilities now available, this is the best move for the Waverly Health Center.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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