10/26/06 — Open house Saturday at wellness center

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Open house Saturday at wellness center

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on October 26, 2006 2:23 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Dedication ceremonies will be Saturday for the Pope Wellness Center at Mount Olive College, a state-of-the-art facility that also features individual and corporate memberships.

The public is invited to the open house, which will be from 1 to 5 p.m.

The center is named for Buddy and Judson Pope, longtime supporters of the college, including their leadership of the annual Handy Mart Scholarship Golf Tournament that has raised more than $1.5 million and provided 432 scholarships for students over the past 19 years.

Officials at the college say they are exited about the new addition to the campus.

"Pope Wellness Center is a beautiful facility that will provide a wealth of opportunities and options for enhancing the long-term health and wellness of the many individuals that elect to join the center," said Rhonda Jessup, director of public affairs.

The center features a weight and exercise room with wall-to-wall treadmills, stair climbers, free weights and other equipment. There is also a separate yoga/aerobics room with space provided for individual use and classroom instruction.

The facility also contains a regulation-size basketball court that can subdivided into two smaller courts for events such as volleyball. Locker rooms, showers and dressing areas are also provided.

But the center is more than just a gym, Ms. Jessup said.

"It's a comprehensive facility with trained fitness specialists dedicated to the health and wellness of this region. We are excited about the opportunities it will bring for the community and we sincerely hope that folks will come out on Saturday to get a glimpse of what Pope Wellness Center has to offer," she said.

Membership options will run about $30 for the primary member, with a smaller fee for each additional family member. Corporate rates for businesses with 10 or more participants and for business associates who contribute to the college on an annual basis are also being made available.

The base membership fees cover an array of general programs and classes, as well as specific exercise programs geared to individual needs. Other services offered include massage therapy and personal training.

In addition to the exercise component, though, the college has partnered with Sampson Regional Medical Center to promote elements of a healthy lifestyle, said Dr. Karen Bass, vice president for staff development at the college.

"The expertise they will bring through staffing and programming will be a valuable resource to our campus and community," she said.

Eric Nance has been named director of Pope Wellness Center.

The center will initially operate on an abbreviated schedule until January. Beginning on Jan. 2, it will be open 91 hours a week, providing 24 aerobic classes per week, including yoga, spinning, step aerobics, Pilates, kick boxing and lower back/abdominal classes.

Special classes in weight management, smoking cessation, healthy lifestyle and eating, and phase four cardiac rehab will be offered on an alternating basis each month.