Indianola Wellness Center campaign achieves liftoff

by Tara Maurer

Simpson students were encouraged to “vote yes” for the plan to build a YMCA Wellness Facility in Indianola during the Wellness Forum on Feb. 3 in Jordan Lecture Hall.

The forum acted as the kick-off for the Indianola Wellness Center campaign on campus. Members of Citizens for Indianola’s Future, and supporters of the plan to build a YMCA in Indianola, answered student questions concerning the YMCA during the event.

Emphasis was placed on the huge effect the YMCA could have on students and student-athletes at Simpson.

Public transportation is an important idea that goes along with the YMCA, Indianola Mayor Ken Bresnan said.

“[It’s] one of the big parts of this that came up in the visioning process we’re doing,” Bresnan said. “There are a lot of seniors that will use it at different times, and students will need transportation, so that’s one thing we will be wrestling with in the next couple of years.”

Other student advantages of having a YMCA wellness facility in Indianola include student internships, lab space and jobs, said Nicolle Whalen, assistant professor of sports science and health education.

“The jobs at a [YMCA] are often given to college students, especially those studying in the field [of exercise science],” Whalen said.

A lot of the jobs at YMCA’s are part-time, which is also good for students, Whalen said.

If the YMCA was built in Indianola, Simpson would rent pool space. A renovation of the current pool into a two-level workout facility would occur. Director of Athletics John Sirianni said this space would focus on Simpson rather than the community.

“If this passes, Simpson is moving in the direction where Simpson facilities will be for Simpson students, faculty and staff only,” Sirianni said.

The YMCA said it would work with groups on and off-campus, Whalen said.

“They are so open to collaborating with Simpson on important issues like SARA’s (Sexual Advocate Response Advocates), and doing all different kinds of programming,” Whalen said.

While the positive effects of the YMCA – such as 90 new jobs – were discussed at the forum, the question of the YMCA’s effect on other fitness facilities in town was also raised.

The YMCA has a different clientele than the other facilities, YMCA supporter Ivan Richert said.

“It’s a family atmosphere,” Richert said.

Richert added that the facilities will have to “boost what they’re good for” and focus on adults who “want to get in, get out,” without any hassle.

Macy Koch, senior and student body president, encouraged students to vote.

“We can walk your ballot over for you,” Koch said. “We want to do as much as we can to make this easy for you.”

Students can vote on March 1 at the American Legion, vote early at the Warren County Auditor’s Office from Feb. 14 through Feb. 28 or fill out an absentee ballot and send it through the mail to the auditor’s office.