Turning Out For Fitness

Published 7:38 pm Thursday, January 6, 2011

The King’s Daughters Fitness Center was maxed out Wednesdayafternoon as city officials, workout enthusiasts and interestedspectators gathered in the workout facility for a ceremonialribbon-cutting.

“Hospitals aren’t just about taking care of sick peopleanymore,” said Alvin Hoover, King’s Daughters Medical Center CEO.”We’re here to be community partners and take care of the health ofour community.”

From 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Wednesday, community members wereinvited to participate in a free workout, sample various shakes,nibble on an assortment of snacks and take home a variety ofgiveaways.

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“I’m excited, we had a great turnout,” said Todd Peavey, fitnesscenter manager. “I think it’s something that’s exciting and willreally benefit the community in the future.”

The event was more than an opportunity for community members totake home T-shirts, water bottles, gym memberships, autographedfootballs from Drew Brees and Reggie Bush and visit with MinnesotaTwins third baseman Matt Tolbert, who was born in McComb. Theceremony allowed hospital officials and fitness center staff achance to show off $750,000 in renovations and $125,000 worth ofnew equipment.

“We felt like we could reach more people in a larger facility,”said Hoover. “We wanted a way to provide the community with afitness center that’s really accessible to them.”

KDMC officials may have reached their goal, as the center hasseen 50 new members since Jan. 1. On Wednesday, participants couldbe seen testing new equipment with smiles on their faces.

“They have different types of machines for all ages,” saidDerrick Henderson, offensive tackle for Alcorn State University.”They have something for everyone.”

In addition to new equipment, construction crews have beentearing down walls and pulling up flooring to open the workoutfacility and to install a renovated pool room featuring aresurfaced floor and a new side entrance.

With 22 laps equaling one mile, newcomers especially took noticeto the new indoor walking track. Hospital officials and fitnessstaff members hope those looking to stretch a few muscles take fulluse of the orange path circling the exercise equipment.

“It’s a safe place for people to walk,” said Christi Mills,director of therapy for KDMC Therapy Center. “We’ve provided aplace where people can walk regardless of the weather.”

The center is also serving a low-calorie menu of sandwiches,salads, desserts, drinks and shakes, which can be eaten in the newdeli area.

While the fitness center may have only relocated a few feet fromits old location and has become its own establishment from theprevious therapy and fitness center, members think the small moveresulted in large changes for the facility’s development.

“Naturally, this is a big improvement,” said Ronnie Stogner, whohas been a member of the fitness center long before the currentrenovations. “They’re dedicated to fitness only now and they areable to reach a wider audience.”

As the fitness center seems to be on a high intensity workoutplan of its own, the health club is not finished flexing itsmuscles.

“It’s a strong possibility we could be going to a 24-hourfitness facility,” said Peavey.

There is no need to sweat for those that missed the eventfulday. The fitness center will hold a more relaxed open houseThursday from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m.

“It’ll be more of a time for people to come in and tour thefacility,” said Peavey. “We can tour them through the facility andspend a little more personal time.”