Mizell center opens today

Published 8:28 pm Thursday, February 12, 2009

The doors to Opp’s Mizell Memorial Hospital Wellness Center will open today, Mizell CEO Allan Foster said.

“We are excited it about it too,” Foster said. “Everything is set up and ready to go — we’re just waiting for people to come in.”

The facility will open its doors today at 5:30 a.m. and be open until 6 p.m. Its regular hours will be Mondays through Thursdays from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. The center will be closed on Sundays.

Currently, there are 400 members enrolled at the center, which up until now was housed at the Opp Micolas-Mill.

Funded in part through a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and funds from the Mizell Memorial Hospital Foundation, the Solon and Martha Dixon Foundation and various local business and residents, it is a dream come true for hospital officials.

The three-year project, estimated at $2.7 million dollars, features a 13,000-plus square foot building with an indoor heated pool, an exercise/weight training area, complete with everything from treadmills to state-of-the-art cardio equipment; a physical therapy rehab area; an education center/multipurpose room equipped with a commercial kitchen; a racquetball court; shower and wash room areas and office space.

“This facility is something that is not in this area whatsoever,” Foster said. “It’s something that helps us fulfill our mission to get people well before they get sick.”

From the beginning, the focus of the project has been to promote wellness measures such as exercise and nutrition to improve one’s overall health — before he or she gets sick.

“Our goal has always been to improve the overall health of this community,” he said. “And our community has been interested from the beginning of this project; however, it wouldn’t have come together without the tireless work of Dr. Wheeler Gunnels, who has really given of his time, energy and himself personally to be involved. He wanted to see it happen. He knows what a benefit wellness is.”

Foster said he hopes to see the enrollment at the center grow. There is a one-time enrollment fee of $25 for an individual, $15 for a spouse and $5 per dependent. Monthly fees range from $35 for an individual for a basic gym membership; $15 per spouse and $8 per dependent. There are packages available for pool use only, racquetball only and a combination thereof. An all-inclusive membership is $65 per individual; $25 for a spouse, and $8 per dependent. A special discount is given to hospital employees and senior citizens.

For more information or additional pricing, call 334-493-1730. The Wellness Center is located at 501 Bradley Street, across from Channel-Lee Stadium.

An official ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for Tues., Feb. 17, at 2 p.m.