Wellness Center project making strides toward reality
Tieszen, Hoops provide insight into the project's expectations and progress.
The next project that’s part of Bethel College’s strategic recruitment/retainment plan is the construction of the Wellness Center — which will be intended to benefit the entire campus community of Bethel.
As Bethel continues to complete its new locker room next to Thresher Stadium, the board of directors has chosen a specific construction company to start working on finalizing grants and funds to make the Wellness Center a reality. Fundraising for the project is going well and the board is continuing to submit grants and solicit large gifts.
However, there’s still no current timeline for construction.
“The Wellness Center will begin construction when funds for the project are realized since Bethel does not borrow money for construction projects,” said Pam Tieszen, Vice President of Advancement.
Director of Athletics, Tony Hoops, is optimistic about the Wellness Center’s impact. “We’ve increased traction over the past month that has really made this facility a reality,” he said. “It’s gonna happen, and hopefully pretty quickly.”
This project is a top priority because it helps move forward with other items that are incorporated into the strategic plan set forth by the school’s board of directors. The Wellness Center will provide an “aesthetically pleasing space for the students and community to improve physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing,” said Tieszen. “It’ll also alleviate time constraints of indoor sports practices.”
Currently, athletes and student clubs are asked to accommodate practice times and events that constantly change weekly with early and late practices. With overlapping practice times in Thresher Gym, the Wellness Center will be a solution to that issue.
“A facility of this kind will be attractive and an added value for incoming Bethel students and families,” Tieszen added.
Demolition of the east wing of Goering Hall has already begun and the space created will serve as the planned host site for the Wellness Center.
“I think it [will] also connect our campus in a different way based on its location,” Hoops continued. “The goal would be to create a connecting piece that would connect Voth Hall and the softball field to the rest of campus.
We also feel like the Wellness Center could [help develop community] based on how it’s designed with not only cardio and weight rooms, but a place with intentional purpose with how it’s going to be done. It benefits intramurals as well, making it an all-encompassing thing.”
As of now, Bethel has just two weight rooms on campus: one in Goering Hall for athletes and one in Memorial Hall for everyone else. With the Wellness Center, it’ll improve the overall wellness of students without the confusion of who it’s for or scheduling conflicts.
The current plan for the building will include gym floors, a cardio room, a weight room, a multipurpose room, and a possible walking track.
Of course, this is all subject to change with pricing based on a constantly shifting budget. “It might change shape, it might change scope a little bit, but we definitely don’t want to diminish the building itself to lose its overall impact that we want to have for the college,” said Hoops.