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Meeting Held to Start Planning for New Wellness/Fitness Center

By Joe Morey

News Editor


The LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) is in the beginning stages of planning a new Wellness/Fitness Center at Lac Courte Oreilles, which groundbreaking could take place as early as this Spring.


A meeting was held between TGB members, Health Director Gary Girard, Health Center Fitness Coach Shannon Krizan, Jason Weaver of the LCO Grants Department and Chad King, representing Northwest Builders who recently built the new LCO Public Works building.


King presented to the group a possible architectural drawing of the proposed facility, but, stated the plan is generic and a commonly used idea. He said he would revise the plan as the TGB decides on what would make up the facility.


Ideas presented at the meeting for the fitness center included making it 24/7 and have electronic card access for members. Everyone would have to sign liability waivers and Elders would be given a pendant that they could pull that would alert 9-1-1. The office/administration area would be locked as would any LCO Health Center space used for rehabilitation and therapeutics.


Krizan said by being open 24/7, “This would eliminate a flood of people coming in at the same times. You have people who like to go during the quiet time to simply enjoy themselves while exercising or working out.”


Members of the TGB felt strongly about having a walking/running track/path around the inside of the facility to provide members the opportunity to continue getting that type of exercise in the winter.


Tweed Shuman said many people are using the current paved walking/biking path that runs from the casino into the Reservation.


“They need an indoor path because they can’t access the path in the winter,” Shuman said. “It’s slippery and not feasible for Elders and it’s difficult to plow and maintain in the winter.”


Some ideas passed around at the meeting included having a pool, sauna, hot tub, gymnasium, trampoline area, classrooms, weight room and exercise area and walking paths.


Krizan added classes that could be a part of the classrooms incorporated into the plan may include martial arts, dance, yoga, fitness, as well as cultural activities and arts and crafts.


“It’s important that the facility be welcoming to everyone whether young or old, fit or not fit, whether it’s someone interested in soft yoga or punching bags,” Krizan said. “The atmosphere has to be right and the staffing has to be right and make people feel welcome. There should be separate rooms for these different activities.”


And with each class opportunity, you can charge for them, Krizan added.


The group also discussed certain times making the pool available for adult or elder swim where they can use the pool for therapy reasons.


The plan is to break ground on the new facility this Spring and it would be located directly south of the Sevenwinds Casino Hotel on Hwy K where it could tap into current infrastructure without adding to the overall cost.


The TGB asked that a poll be put up on Facebook asking the membership if they would use the facility. There were 259 votes for yes, they would use the facility and 23 more that said maybe. Only 7 voted no on whether they would utilize the wellness/fitness center.


Suggestions were made in the comments on what tribal members would like to see in the new center. The most popular suggestion was for a swimming pool followed closely by an indoor walking/running path. The next most common answer was for classrooms with various opportunities for classes that include yoga, martial arts, and dance. There was a tie for the fourth most popular comment between a weight room with equipment and a fitness and exercise room with equipment.


Another popular suggestion by the membership was to include Elders ability to have pool therapy through walking and other pool time activities. A sauna was also important to members.


Other ideas that received a few comments included a gymnasium for volleyball, basketball and other activities, an indoor turf room for training/practicing summer sports in the winter time, an indoor children’s play area or playground, indoor golf simulator and a community room area with opportunities for arts and crafts and cultural activities.


Other ideas that received mentions were for a healthy juice bar, batting cages/nets, rock climbing wall, pool table/darts, birthday party rental room, an area for handball or racquetball, and a kid’s obstacle course.