Mild weather puts Wellness Center ahead of schedule

Published 11:30 pm Monday, October 27, 2008

The construction of Mizell Memorial Hospital’s new Wellness Center is a month ahead of its original schedule, thanks in part to months of mild weather.

The new facility, for which ground was broken on March 18, will house all of the amenities currently found in the MMH Wellness Center located inside Opp’s Delta Plaza, as well as a few firsts, including a four-lane Olympic-length heated swimming pool and a racquetball court.

Amy Bess, MMH assistant chief financial officer, said the weather has allowed construction crews with Lewis Construction of Dothan to shave a month’s time off of the original 315 days allotted for the center’s completion.

“Right now we are one month in advance of schedule,” Bess said. “We are now looking at, hopefully, the end of the year instead of the end of January.”

The new facility will mean improved health improvement options for the senior community of Opp and, according to Bess, several programs have already begun to draw interest from the surrounding community.

“We have received several phone calls from people interested in the aquatic therapy and massage therapy programs we will offer in the new center,” she said. “We have received some calls from individuals who currently live in Dozier and have been traveling to Dothan to receive aquatic therapy.”

The center will feature an indoor, heated Olympic length pool that will progress in depth from three feet to five feet and will be used for aquatic therapy sessions particularly helpful to people with arthritis and other weight-bearing limitations.

“We have several subcontractors working at the same time,” she said. “The canopy will soon be put in place at the front of the building. Tile is being placed in all the bathrooms inside the center. Workers will soon begin to put carpet in place. The outside is still awaiting landscaping work and paving for the parking lot and entryways.”

In addition, the more than 11,000-square-foot facility will include a fitness room filled with a variety of workout equipment, a multi-purpose area and outpatient physical therapy.

Jana Wyatt, MMH chief financial officer and chief operating officer, said the project has not encountered many adjustments in expenditures, but the center remains in line with the original estimated $2.7 million price tag.

Wyatt said preparations are now being made to create a pricing structure for services.

“We are going to have information coming out soon about pricing structure for services and such because we are a month ahead,” she said. “We were not expecting to be at this point this quickly, but we are happy to be ahead of schedule. A lot of people want to know what the rates will be.”