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Antioch College student Clarence Allen was photographed last week utilizing the Wellness Center workout room. The college has reopened the center to students in order to support their physical and mental well-being, according to the college. A public reopening date has yet to be set. (Photo by Jessica Thomas)

Wellness Center reopens to Antioch students

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After being closed for over 18 months, the Antioch College Wellness Center has now reopened its doors to Antioch students.

Operating in a limited capacity and with irregular hours, the Wellness Center has been available for free student use since Friday, Oct. 8. Per the most recent communication issued to Antioch students via email, the newly set hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 6–10 p.m. Currently only the workout room, basketball court and selected studio spaces may be used.

According to a separate statement from Antioch College, issued from Vice President for Operations and Business Hannah Montgomery, the decision to reopen the Wellness Center for student use was made in the interest of “promoting students’ health and well-being” amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

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There is, however, still no set date for a public reopening.

“Most recently, [Antioch College] reviewed the possibility of a management firm and [has] decided not to pursue this option for reopening,” the statement read.

Instead, Antioch plans to press ahead with a recent arrangement with the Yellow Springs Development Corporation, or YSDC, to eventually take over operations and reopen the fitness center to the public.

Per the statement: “Antioch is working closely with the Yellow Springs Development Corporation on how we can open for faculty, staff and community members.”

As the News previously reported, the YSDC aims to create a subsidiary that manages operations of the fitness center. That subsidiary will not take ownership of the building, and will not pay rent to the college for use of the property. For now, Antioch College is still overseeing facility operations and management.

Trevor Lowe, who worked at the Wellness Center from 2016 until its 2020 closure, recently assumed the role of operations manager on a part-time basis, with Antioch College as his employer. In a interview with the News, Lowe said his and the fitness center’s priority right now is to keep students healthy.

“Students need this as an outlet,” Lowe said.

“I remember how important working out was to my mental health throughout my college experience, and we have to be aware that many college students can’t afford to get a membership elsewhere,” he said.

As of Monday evening, the appearance of the Wellness Center’s lobby has undergone subtle changes. Plexiglass barriers have been added to the front desk, and a table with a sign-in sheet has replaced the scanner. The students utilizing the fitness room were socially distanced. Upbeat music played from a loudspeaker.

According to Lowe, dozens of students have come to the Wellness Center since its quasi reopening two weeks ago. The “after-class hours,” Lowe said, have encouraged student attendance.

“But word is still circulating around campus,” he said. “I’ve been giving tours and trying to make the place as welcoming as possible.”

Reflecting on the process, Lowe said he understands that community members will have many questions regarding reopening.

“I greatly appreciate the support and enthusiasm while details are being processed,” he said.

“Even after being closed for almost two years, the Wellness Center remains a vital component of the community and the college and, for everyone’s sake, [reopening] is a job worth doing well.”

The News will continue its coverage of YSDC’s involvement with the Wellness Center, and Antioch College’s plans for the fitness center in future issues of the News.

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