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BREAKING NEWS

Fitness Center planning expansion

By Staff | May 29, 2011

A city-owned business is busting at the seams and may be in store for a makeover.

“Something definitely needs to be done. Parking is an issue, the locker rooms are too small and the weight room has to be on the ground floor,” says Michelle Hall, manager of the Faribault County Fitness Center located at the fairgrounds.

At the blessing of the Blue Earth City Council, the center’s board of directors have begun seeking proposals.

City Administrator Kathy Bailey says seven architectural firms have contacted the city so far.

“We want to see how we can best use our space. Whether it is remodeling or building an addition,” says Bailey.

Depending on what type of work is actually done, preliminary cost estimates range from $350,000 to $1 million.

Talk of upgrading the facility has been in the works for some time and became serious late last year.

Hall says the number of people using the center increased drastically with the addition of a weight room and installation of air conditioning.

“”I’d say in the last three years memberships have tripled,” Hall says.

Currently there are 350 individual and family memberships, totaling about 800 people.

For the first time, says Hall, the center is self-supporting and finished in the black last year.

According to budget figures, revenue projections for this year are nearly $98,000 and expenses are around $75,000.

Hall says it is doubtful any decision will be made this year so work could begin.

“This is all very vague and preliminary, with the hope of doing something down the road,” she says. “This is a city business and everything must be done right.”

The eight-member Fitness Center board must make a recommendation to the City Council to act on.

How to pay for the project has not been determined.

So far, six funding options have reviewed.

Bailey says issuing bonds to cover the improvements is an option.

To read more of this article, see this week’s Register.