FREDERICKTOWN — Fredericktown Local School District and Knox Community Hospital have partnered to open the Fredericktown Fitness Center, located in the old high school building. Community members have been taking advantage of the facility. Art Dremann, Fredericktown resident, has been a steady user.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “It’s been getting me into a routine, by coming here, that I’ve been saying I need to do.”
Through a physical education grant, the school district was able to buy physical education equipment and improve upon its program, said Dan Humphrey, former Fredericktown superintendent.
“And as a result, we have a weight room that is very well equipped that the students use,” he said. “One of the things that we did was put some of the equipment into this particular room with the idea that people from the community as well as students could use it.”
The facility is particularly used in the afternoon for various athletic programs, and the mornings have been opened for public use.
As a part of the state funding for the new K-12 school building, the old buildings had to be sold, demolished or utilized.
“So the old middle school was demolished and the back portion of [the high school] was demolished, and we were able to save part of this building,” said Humphrey.
“And we were able to save this building,” said Lori Bechtel, school board member.
In addition to the fitness center, portions of the old Fredericktown High School building are being used by the senior activities center, school district administration office and school athletic programs such as wrestling.
“And starting next spring, COTC is planning to bring their Knox County operations into part of this building while they renovate Ariel Hall. So their office area will be here and all their classes will be in this building for about 15 months,” said Humphrey.
“This is a perfect example of the building being recycled,” said Bechtel. “Because if you don’t use it, it will deteriorate.”
“The facility is a real asset to the community,” said resident Earl Bechtel.
“Most of the people that come seem very happy to have a center here in Fredericktown,” said Lindsey Brokaw, exercise physiologist for KCH. “And everyone seems pleased with the equipment; there’s a combination of cardiovascular equipment and resistance training/weight machines as well as a few free weights. There’s everything you would need for a full body workout.”
“I think this is wonderful. It’s been a great partnership so far and it’s good for us to be working in the community,” said Jason Mentzer, wellness coordinator and clinical exercise specialist with KCH and the FFC. “We didn’t know what to expect [when we opened], but we are very pleased at how everything is going so far.”
The facility is open to community members from 7 to 10 a.m.; an exercise physiologist is on duty to assist individuals.
“The big advantage to coming to our program is the fact that we do have a degree exercise physiologist on staff, and individuals don’t have to feel like they aren’t sure of how to do something because we would always be there to help them,” said Mentzer.
With interest in expanding the hours open to the public, Mentzer said he hopes to discuss the possibility with the school district.
“We hope in the future to try and provide hours that are most feasible to the community members on what works best for them,” said Mentzer.
The facility is open to members 14 years and older, and anyone over the age of 40 must have a physician’s permission. A full fitness evaluation — which involves testing strength training, flexibility, posture, and body composition — is given to individuals when they become a member.
“And based on what they are trying to get out of the program and what their goals are, we try to set up a means to help them accomplish those goals,” said Mentzer.
“It’s wonderful having a fitness specialist here,” said Lori, “especially for individuals who may have a physical problem because they can come here and feel safe. They will have someone who knows how to use the machines, knows what is happening and is able to see those areas that might be a concern. And that makes [the fitness center] so much better than so many other places.”