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Antioch College

Enjoying an opportunity to get some laps in, Gavin Devore Leonard was one of the first members to take a dip in the reopened Wellness Center pool on Saturday, Jan. 15. (Photo by Jessica Thomas)

Antioch Wellness Center now open to the public

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“It feels so good to be back.”

This was the overwhelming consensus from attendees at the Antioch Wellness Center’s reopening event on Saturday, Jan. 15. As of Saturday, the Wellness Center is open for business, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“After two years of social challenges and instability, Antioch College has regained its strength and reclaimed its position in the community,” Antioch President Jane Fernandes said in an email to the News. “By reopening the doors of the Wellness Center, we welcome you to partner with us in the spirit of health and wellbeing.”

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The reopening event featured food trucks, and visitors were welcome to enjoy a temporary rock climbing wall outside. Trevor Lowe, the Center’s director, said that the college wanted to find a way to celebrate the reopening safely.

“Although the climbing wall is something we would like to make permanent,” he said.

The Antioch Wellness Center is officially back open to the public. (Photo by Jessica Thomas)

Lowe emphasized members’ ability to resume their memberships when they feel comfortable doing so. To resume membership, individuals will need to go to the Center to reactivate and staff will review their records before seeking payment.

Walking into the Wellness Center, members will notice some small changes made to better accommodate members and create a safer environment through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Individuals are required to provide proof of vaccination, which the Center will keep on file for future visits, and signage throughout the building gives reminders to wear masks, unless using the pool, spa or cardio equipment, and maintain physical distance. Also, the center will utilize additional exits on the south end of the building to create a one-way flow of traffic in and out of the facility.

The most significant change, however, was switching the men’s and women’s locker rooms.

“I didn’t realize the men’s locker room was bigger than the women’s. Since women make up the majority of our aqua fitness classes, we wanted to give them more changing space,” Lowe said.

“But I know the change will take some getting used to.”

According to Lowe, a limited selection of classes resumed Tuesday, Jan. 18, with a reduced number of available slots to accommodate for social distancing.

“I’m really hopeful that we will offer Silver Sneakers classes soon,” Lowe said. “We submitted our application in early November, but it is still under review.”

A rock wall was available for climbers outside of the Wellness Center at the opening event on Saturday, Jan. 15. (Jessica Thomas)

In the meantime, members can enjoy yoga and aquafitness classes.

“Everything will be a little slow at first,” Lowe said. “ I want to make sure we are in a place to execute classes safely and maintain our COVID-19 protocols.”

Other classes, such as spinning, will not be offered for the near future due, in part, to the ongoing pandemic.

“It’s a safety issue,” said Lowe. “Spinning is very high intensity and closing people in a room where they’ll be breathing heavily is not a good idea.”

Use of some fitness equipment, such as the treadmills, will also be limited.

“Every other treadmill will be blocked off in order to maintain social distance,” Lowe said.

A Sunday visit to the Center found several people utilizing the weight room, families playing in the pool’s shallow end and enjoying the spa and a group of teens playing basketball. Lowe said that many people are “picking up where they left off” after the center’s March 2020 closure.

“We saw over 400 people and had over 300 people renew or sign up for memberships on Saturday alone,” Lowe said.” “I’m feeling good about it.”

Despite the jubilant atmosphere, Lowe said that the Center’s members will have to be patient as staff continues to assess the state of equipment, replacing some items and servicing others.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Lowe said. “But I am so happy to have the community back in the Center. It feels like welcoming my family home.”

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