Saint Francis' Fitness Plus draws thousands to open house

Friday, October 15, 2004

Officially opened Oct. 4

Business Today

Area residents gazed at new treadmills, spacious locker rooms and three pools during an open house at Saint Francis Medical Center's new Fitness Plus on Sept. 25

The two-day open house drew about 3,100 people, medical center officials said.

Fitness Plus officially opened its doors Oct. 4

The fitness center and therapy areas are part of a four-story, 144,000-square-foot building off Mount Auburn Road in Cape Girardeau that includes about 75,000 square feet of medical offices on the third and fourth floors.

Fitness Plus has three pools: a four-lane, 25-yard lap pool, a recreation pool and a warm-water therapy pool. The water in the lap pool is heated to 82 degrees, the recreation pool water is 86 degrees to 88 degrees, and the therapy pool water temperature is 90 degrees to 92 degrees.

"It's awesome," said Marilyn Curtis, vice president of professional services at Saint Francis Medical Center, whose duties include overall supervision of Fitness Plus.

Having a recreational pool and a lap pool will prevent recreational swimmers from disrupting those who want to swim laps, said Steve Bjelich, chief operating officer of Saint Francis Medical Center.

The locker rooms have digital key pads that allow members to punch in whatever code they want when they use a locker.

A massage therapy area serves both the men's and women's locker rooms.

"There are no group showers. It's all private," Curtis said.

There are a variety of exercise rooms, including one for children ages 6 to 12. That room includes child-sized exercise equipment.

"We want to establish good, safe exercise habits at an early age," Curtis said.

An adjacent room serves as a play room for children up to 6 years old.

Bjelich said Fitness Plus is designed to integrate occupational and physical therapy with the general fitness operation.

The second-story track includes a lane reserved for joggers and two lanes for walkers. A shorter track is available for cardiac patients to walk.

"There is absolutely nothing like it in the Midwest," Bjelich said of the fitness center.

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