What's Up with the Wellness Center?
The Howard Performing Arts Center (HPAC) seemed to pulse as the sounds of voices and bustling people flowed throughout its lobby and hallways. Poster boards and design sketches depicting the new Health and Wellness Center surrounded the crowd, and the smiling members of the production team swiftly answered any questions that were thrown their way.
September 30, 2016 marked “the public launch of the Health and Wellness Center Campaign,” according to Dominique Wakefield, the Director for University Health and Wellness. This official kick-off took place in the HPAC lobby and marked the transition of the campaign from the silent phase, where it has been for the past four years, into the public phase. The major facilitator for this passage was the money generated for the campaign thus far. The project timeline states that $15.5 million out of the projected cost of $17.5 million has been raised through intense fundraising, donations, matching funds and even cash pledges.
Although Sept. 30 marked the campaign’s official move into the public eye, the project has long been unofficially public. According to students in their final months here at Andrews University, the new Wellness Center was promised to them years ago, when they were newly entering Andrews; however, Wakefield puts those claims to rest.
“When originally the idea emerged, it started going around campus...and there were a lot of rumors, so no timeline was ever promised,” Wakefield said.
Now, a timeline has been promised and set. Construction on the building will begin sometime in 2018 and continue until the following year. The completed two-story wellness complex will offer a variety of programs ranging from traditional fitness areas to more innovative revolutions. For example, the fitness area will feature a walking track, traditional aerobic equipment and group fitness classes, such as pilates and spinning. The more unconventional aspects include its massage therapy services, aquatic center and juice bar, in addition to its wellness oasis. The project design maintains that the oasis will be a center for rejuvenation and restoration, providing functions such as saunas, infrared therapy and an outdoor healing garden.
The concept for the center was developed by an international team who, according to Wakefield, designed a facility which may have no counterpart in the United States. Wakefield also states that the center will look to connect the inside and outside, through its integration of “lots of glass and wood, in order to pull the outside and the inside together.”
In the midst of the novelty present in this design, all these features are aimed at creating a strong environment in which participants are able to strengthen not only their physical selves, but also their minds and spirits.
Jordanne Howell-Walton (junior, psychology) said, “I’ll be gone by the time it’s built, but I’m excited for future students who will benefit from it. I think it will be especially good for sports teams because of the expansion of available space to practice in. The indoor track is really appealing too, considering the weather. Also, I think students will love the co-ed aspect of it.”
Andrea Luxton, President of Andrews University, said, “The Center will be the place that exemplifies our commitment to holistic living and education.”
Students at Andrews University can expect to see their new Health and Wellness Center open some time in 2019, directly adjacent to the Pioneer Memorial Church.