Indianola Wellness Facility In The Works

by Gabe Gilson & Erin Guzman

The Indianola community has recently been working hard to be the new home of a wellness and fitness center.

This fall, it started to become a reality as the Indianola Wellness Facility Planning Committee received a joint proposal from the YMCA of Greater Des Moines and the Summercrest Hills Development Corporation to operate a community wellness facility.

Indianola resident and ’93 Simpson graduate Jay Byers is the chairman of the planning committee, and he is looking forward to the opportunity to bring a large wellness and fitness center to town.

“We are excited to have discussions with the development team on how we can turn their proposal into the best facility to promote health, economic growth, and job opportunities for the greater Indianola area,” Byers said.

The impact of this facility has the potential to be limitless for Indianola and Simpson. The college’s current weight training and athletic facilities are in a transitional stage of repair and remodeling. With the addition of the fitness and wellness center, it will provide an off-campus option for recreation to students and Indianola residents.

President John Byrd and Athletic Director John Sirianni sit on the planning committee as representatives of Simpson. Both Byrd and Sirianni have seen the need for this facility and are welcoming its intended positive impacts for the Indianola and campus communities.

“Indianola has been pushing for a community recreational center for about 20 years,” Sirianni said. “But this is the first time that specific entities have come together and assessed the needs to make a direct push for it.”

The proposed site for this center lies near the 65/69 Highway just north of town. The area is located close East Hillcrest and the Vintage Hills Retirement Community. The commercial area of development is approximately 106 acres of the 160 acres owned by Summercrest Hills.

The YMCA will program the center, and it will include state-of-the-art health facilities.

The 55,000 square foot, two level building will have a plethora of cardio and fitness machines, free weights and numerous fitness classrooms suitable for yoga, Pilates, dance or aerobics classes. The blueprints also reveal a large gymnasium along with multipurpose room space for kids and a track.

Other features convey a recreational and competition pool and aquatic facilities. The competition-sized pool maxes out at 14-foot depths with three diving boards, eight lanes, and bleachers that seat up to 800 spectators. The pool meets all NCAA competing standards and can be utilized for Simpson swim meets. Byrd sees this as a great asset for Simpson athletics.

“Our swim team will be able to practice and compete at this facility,” Byrd said. “And since it also has diving included in its construction plans, we could include a diving team at Simpson as well.”

Multiple locker rooms, racquetball courts, social areas and physical therapy and rehabilitation rooms will also find their way into the project. The proposal shows that nutrition education classes and health related support groups would also be made available to members upon completion of the center.

However, the overall estimated building cost for this facility currently stands at $12.5 million, not including the operating costs and purchase of land. Once the space is running, membership fees will cover the majority of the costs. Thoughts are still up in the air as to where the funding will come from. Since Simpson plans on using the facility, Byrd said he wanted to help with the project in any way possible.

“The goal of building this fitness and wellness center is to not only provide economic stimulation and bring a unique character to the city of Indianola,” Byrd said. “But also to promote an increased sense of community.”