College wellness center nears completion


By Laurie Hamame - lhamame@aimmediamidwest.com



Construction costs for the new Patricia & Merrill Shanks Health & Wellness Center on Woodland Street are being covered by donations and fundraising.

Construction costs for the new Patricia & Merrill Shanks Health & Wellness Center on Woodland Street are being covered by donations and fundraising.


Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

A $13 million health and wellness center revamp at Oberlin College is scheduled to open the first week of September.

The 16,000-square-foot addition to the 115,000-square-foot Jesse Philips Physical Education Center is aimed at expanding recreational opportunities for all college students and not just athletes.

The update to the existing gym, which was constructed in 1971, is needed to keep up with increasing demand for space, said college director of athletics Natalie Winkelfoos.

“Philips Gym was built as a men-only building, so you can imagine the spaces are small and it doesn’t allow us to really foster programming to encompass an entire campus community,” she said.

Improvements include a wood-floored wellness room that will host spin, yoga, and other group fitness classes. Another multipurpose room will house cardio machines and basic equipment for free weight workouts.

The pool remains in its existing space but received an overhaul, including additional lane space, new tiling, a new filtration system, and a new diving well. Large viewing windows were built to encourage natural light to spill in, “which helps with people’s happiness,” Winkelfoos said.

The new center is about more than revamping existing athletics facilities, she said. It was built with the intent to make to foster healthy connections between mind and body.

College comes with a high level of stress and students can easily forget to put exercise on their to-do list. Winkelfoos said her goal is to get people moving and inspire them to make self-care a priority.

Students can expect classes on relaxation techniques, stress management, and combating performance anxiety.

In addition, the new facility will offer counseling center drop-in hours and office space for disability services and the student success center.

Philips will be free for enrolled students, faculty, and staff. It will require a membership fee for community members.

Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.

Construction costs for the new Patricia & Merrill Shanks Health & Wellness Center on Woodland Street are being covered by donations and fundraising.
https://www.theoberlinnewstribune.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2018/08/web1_IMG_9536.jpgConstruction costs for the new Patricia & Merrill Shanks Health & Wellness Center on Woodland Street are being covered by donations and fundraising.

Laurie Hamame | Oberlin News-Tribune

By Laurie Hamame

lhamame@aimmediamidwest.com