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Chesapeake College to dedicate fitness center
Renovated center named for former President Bounds, who spearheaded effort

WYE MILLS – Chesapeake College will dedicate its renovated fitness center November 20th in honor of Dr. Stuart M. Bounds, the former president who spearheaded the renovation effort.

The dedication ceremony, which will be part of the center’s official grand opening, will take place Thursday at 3 p.m. The nearly three dozen donors who participated in the fundraising campaign to buy new equipment for the center will also be honored. Among the donors were the Julia T. Burleigh Philanthropic Fund, which provided the $25,000 lead donation, and American Legion Post 278, which made a $10,000 donation.

"We want to use this occasion to thank all of our donors," said Dr. Barbara Viniar, Chesapeake College’s president, who also lauded the college committee that led the equipment fundraising effort. "The center’s state-of-the-art cardio and weight-training equipment is the perfect complement to the physical renovation of the facility, and would not have been possible without the generosity of our donors."

The renovation process began with a 2007 needs assessment, which indicated both the physical space and available equipment were not meeting the needs of the college’s students, staff and faculty, and the members of the community who had access to the center through a continuing education fitness course. The report cited the physical challenges – highlighted by the fact that various fitness center components were housed in three separate spaces – and the need for more modern equipment and amenities.

Dr. Bounds led an effort, which received Board of Trustees approval, to completely renovate the center as part of a larger renovation effort already scheduled in the 40-year-old Physical Education Building. The fitness center facilities renovation took place from May to August 2008, with the center opening for classes and general use at the end of August.

The result, according to center users, has been a dramatic increase in both usage and user satisfaction.

"I like that everything has been brought together in one room and that there’s a lot more room," said Gary Blackledge, a sophomore dean’s list student who also pitches for the college’s baseball team. "And the amenities are fantastic – the plasma screens, stereo, surround-sound system. It’s a great facility."

Dr. Eleanor Welsh, a professor of English and the department chair for English and Communications, said she enjoys the diversity of the center’s patrons.

"I can come in here and work out with people of my age group, but it’s also nice to run into students while I’m using the center," said Dr. Welsh. "And our students are so nice, always willing to help when other people using the center need assistance. Kyle (Haynes, one of the college’s baseball players) is almost like a personal trainer with all of the help he provides. It’s more like a community than going to some other facility and working out."

Dr. Ed Baker, a professor of kinesiology who teaches the college’s weight-training courses and monitors the Fitness Center, said the new center is "designed to allow users to obtain total physical fitness."

"The weight-training facilities are based on an isotonic theme employing free weights, dumbbells and stations with weight stacks," said Dr. Baker.

"Cardio/respiratory equipment includes three tread mills, three elliptical trainers, two stationary bikes and a stepper and provides a wide range of cardio training options. The design and the equipment really meet the needs of the credit and non-credit students and the employees who use the center."

The public is welcome to Thursday’s grand opening, which will include fitness center walk-throughs.

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