Meeting set in Avera-Sanford tussleCity to hear pitches from both for Rec Center athletic enhancement program.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
A special meeting could take place next week to let two competing health-care providers make their pitch for a new athletic program at Mitchell’s city-owned Recreation Center.
Dusty Rodiek, the city’s parks, recreation and forestry director, said nothing has been officially scheduled yet, but he plans to extend invitations to both Avera Health and Sanford Health and then hold a special meeting of the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Board on Monday or Tuesday.
After the Mitchell City Council expressed concerns at its meeting Tuesday night at City Hall that the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Board may not have given Avera a proper chance to present its programs before choosing Sanford, the board agreed to again sit down with both providers.
Avera has a large presence in Mitchell, owing mostly to its operation of Avera Queen of Peace Hospital and various associated facilities. Sanford has a small but growing presence in the city that includes a clinic.
The Rec Center has run its own athletic enhancement program for about 10 years but, after several requests for additional programs, it recently sought proposals from both Sanford Health and Avera Health to see what programming each had to offer.
“I’m always trying to find better ways of doing what we do,” said Rec Center Director Rob Marchand. “That’s why I looked into it.”
The Mitchell Parks, Recreation and Forestry Board reviewed each proposal at its Jan. 8 meeting and, after a lengthy discussion, decided to proceed with Sanford.
“With what we do, it just felt like Sanford’s was the way to go,” Marchand said.
Marchand describes Sanford’s Power Program as a “ground-based” training program meant to simulate, to the greatest extent possible, the conditions athletes face in their particular sport.
Sanford’s program doesn’t duplicate what the Rec Center currently offers on its own, Marchand said.
“I just really felt it will be a good fit,” he said.
If the Rec Center were to proceed with Sanford’s program, it would enter a one-year commitment, with the option of a second year with any desired changes. According to the minutes of the Jan. 8 Parks, Recreation and Forestry Board meeting, Sanford would train Thomas Gulledge, the Rec Center’s fitness coordinator, to run its program, and subsidize his pay when he is teaching the program.
Because of the major companies involved, Marchand and other representatives with the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Board felt it was appropriate to inform the City Council of the situation.
“I certainly didn’t want any hard feelings with Avera,” Marchand said.
Because of the uncertainty of the approval process, Marchand couldn’t say when the Rec Center will start offering one of the new programs.