The Waxahachie Senior Center is expanding its fitness options for seniors who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The center accepted a donation of fitness equipment from BaylorWorx, which is closing its doors at its location on U.S. Highway 77. Members of the parks and recreation department were out at the location on Wednesday moving some of the equipment over to the senior center.
“Our board member, Ray Weable, and I were discussing what was going to happen to all of their equipment when they were closing. We know that the therapist equipment — some of that would move into the new Baylor Scott and White Hospital in their therapy room,” Senior Center Director Jeanee Smiles said. “They will no longer offer open membership at the hospital. It is strictly therapy at the hospital. We asked the company what they would do with the equipment. At first they were a little resistant to donating it to us. After seeing our program, and knowing that moving that equipment will further keep the community healthy and fit, they were on board.”
Smiles added she promised BaylorWorx she would take care of that equipment and maintain the legacy of fitness and wellness they established in the community.
The donation from BaylorWorx is a total of 22 pieces of equipment and a scale. Some of the items include stationary bikes, a crunch table, treadmill and seated elliptical machine. The center has been given the option to purchase additional equipment from BaylorWorx, such as free weights later on. BaylorWorx members will be given the chance first to see if they want to buy any items.
“It is commercial grade equipment. By no means is any of it brand new, but there is nothing wrong with it. It has been well maintained,” Smiles said. “Because it’s commercial and BaylorWorx, they have a contract with the service master that has kept it in tip-top shape.”
The machines that are not powered will be stored in the city’s park and recreation building until the expansion of the fitness area at the center takes place. These items will be disassembled and protectively covered until they are ready to be used.
Waxahachie Senior Center member Ann Sillavan is an active user of the center’s fitness facility and said the additional equipment will help seniors stay active.
“The center keeps us in shape. I am in better shape and more mobile than I have been in a while. I used to huff and puff going up the stairs and stuff. Now, I can get up and move without breathing hard. I feel guilty if I don’t come out here and do something,” Sillavan said. “I have people come in ask me if they think that it is crowded in the morning. If they know there is a lot more equipment, they will be more likely to come.”
Sillavan added her doctor is pleased with her results from working out at the center because her diabetes. Her cholesterol and weight is better, she said.
Along with the equipment, the center is may expand its existing fitness facility.
When the center opened in 2009, the fitness facility was located to a single room, which was 300 square feet. The fitness room was then expanded to 750 square feet after a wall to another room was taken down. Workout equipment to help seniors with disabilities and physical limitations was added.
With the demand growing for a larger space, center officials are hoping to enclose its outdoor patio into its new fitness facility. The patio is about 3,000 square feet. To enclose the patio, the estimated cost for the project is $325,000.
“We are all excited and the fire is lit. I have presented to city council. I have met with councilmen, the mayor and the city manager. We have got the members on board. We now are looking at raising the funds,” Smiles said. “I have the confidence, with member donations and community donations, grants and funding, I honestly believe we can raise this money.”
One of the many ways the center has raised funds was through its golf tournament held Sept. 15, 2014. Through these efforts and donations, the center has raised about $89,000 for the expansion project, Smiles said.
Smiles said she wants to raise about $175,000 before approaching the city council for funding and she is confident she will have funds raised by Oct. 1.
To help accommodate the growing members who are still in the workforce, the center has changed its hours to make it more available. The new hours are 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday –Thursday; 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Friday; and 8 a.m. – noon Saturday.
“With the city’s population growing, and the need to keep the community healthy and fit, this is what this building was built for. We not only offer the fitness equipment, but we offer other things that would be beneficial for a person age 50 and older,” Smiles said. “Everything about this center was built for the citizens of this community. That is my goal to provide, whether it is a social need or physical or emotional or wellness.”
For more information about making a donation to the fitness center expansion or about the center, Smiles can be reached at the center by calling 469-309-4280 or through email at email@example.com. The Waxahachie Senior Center is located at 122 Park Hills Dr. in Waxahachie.