Emerald Heights opens new fitness and wellness center; new auditorium to open spring next year
By SAMANTHA PAK
Redmond Reporter Reporter
July 3, 2012 · 1:40 PM
When Ben Brock started his job at Emerald Heights Retirement Community in Redmond in June 2009, the first person he met was George Scott.
As a fitness coordinator, Brock had commented on the "great fitness center" at Emerald Heights during that first conversation. Scott's response was less enthusiastic.
"You've got to be kidding me," he'd said.
Scott, who had lived at Emerald Heights since 2003, was on the planning committee for the community's new fitness and wellness center and knew how he and his fellow residents had outgrown the current center.
And now after seven years of planning, field trips to other senior fitness centers, a few obstacles and about 10 months of construction, Scott can see the results of the committee's hard work as the new fitness and wellness center opened on Monday.
"I've been on this since the beginning — seven years," he said. "We're finally here."
The new $7.8 million center is about 12,000 square feet, more than twice the size of the former 5,975 square-foot building. It is located west of the old building, which remained open during construction so residents' fitness routines would not be interrupted, and includes a 30-foot-by-60-foot swimming pool, hot tub, equipment room for strength and cardiovascular training and an exercise room for group exercise classes. The center also has a spa and beauty salon that will offer massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and other pampering services.
Kay Wallin, vice president of marketing and public relations at Emerald Heights, said 65-70 percent of their residents are involved in the fitness program and the bigger space will help accommodate the high usage.
In addition, the new fitness and wellness center has been designed to accommodate the older population.
"It's better functionality for the residents," said Brock, who is now Emerald Heights' director of wellness services.
The "zero-gravity" pool with a graduated depth has a ramp entrance, making it wheelchair accessible, and a bar around the perimeter for those who may need it. The equipment room offers plenty of space for those using mobility devices to get around as well as on and off the machines.
Brock said these are features that will take down hurdles for some residents who have not been able to utilize the old fitness center.
The new fitness and wellness center is part of Emerald Heights' master plan, which outlines the community's future construction projects. They have worked on the plan with Rice Fergus Miller, Inc., a Bremerton-based architecture firm with experience catering toward the older population.
"We do a lot of retirement housing work," said senior principal Mike Miller.
He added that having the salon and spa services in the same building as the fitness center is important in encouraging residents who have not utilized the fitness portion of the center to join the program. He said if a resident sees their neighbor or friend participating in a class or using the equipment, they would see that they could do so as well.
"It helps to build a culture of fitness and well being," he said.
With the new fitness and wellness center now open, the former building will be torn down to make way for a new 10,980 square-foot auditorium and multipurpose building. Wallin said this project will cost about $5.2 million.
The new building, which is scheduled to be completed April 2013, will be divisible into three spaces for smaller meeting rooms or one large room for banquets or entertainment and performances.
Wallin said the building will include a 30-inch high platform, a drop-down screen, and an audio-visual space for Emerald Heights' in-house TV channel, which broadcasts performances throughout the community — allowing residents who can't make it in person to enjoy the entertainment as well. She said there will also be an auxiliary pantry, which will allow them to store food during dining events so staff won't have to run back and forth to the kitchen.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the new auditorium and multipurpose building will be held July 12 at 3 p.m. at Emerald Heights at 10901 176th Circle N.E. in Redmond.Contact Redmond Reporter Reporter Samantha Pak at email@example.com or 425-867-0353, ext. 5052.