DWU moving forward on wellness center with or without Avera
Avera is still considering a partnership with Dakota Wesleyan University on a wellness center, but DWU is moving ahead with or without a partner. President and CEO of Avera Queen of Peace Tom Clark said the partnership is still a possibility. He ...
Avera is still considering a partnership with Dakota Wesleyan University on a wellness center, but DWU is moving ahead with or without a partner.
President and CEO of Avera Queen of Peace Tom Clark said the partnership is still a possibility. He thinks it's a good project, and Avera's board is discussing it.
"We've talked about what the project might mean for the community and what it might or could mean for us as a hospital," Clark said. "We're trying to evaluate that. We haven't said yes, but we haven't said no."
Avera has a wellness center on its hospital campus in northeast Mitchell, but it has long sought a better facility. Dakota Wesleyan wants to expand its wellness facilities, in part to accommodate athletes cramped into makeshift practice areas. The city of Mitchell was once part of the potential partnership but has lately shifted its focus toward expanding its own Recreation Center.
With help from others or not, DWU is moving forward.
"At this particular point, we're moving in our own direction for our own particular needs," DWU President Bob Duffett said.
In the past, DWU was in talks with Avera and the city on a facility that could have included an arena, indoor track, workout facilities and an indoor pool. Plans eventually failed as each party wanted the plan to adhere to individual agendas.
"That plan had the fingerprints of everybody's needs," Duffett said about the previous discussions. "Nobody got exactly what they wanted, but they all got their top priorities. You can't talk partnership until you step up with cash."
For now, the plan is set for an 80,000-90,000 square foot wellness center on the DWU campus. The facility will cost an estimated $8 million to $10 million.
The wellness center will include an indoor track, three basketball courts, a wrestling room, locker rooms, restrooms and weight rooms.
DWU Athletic Director Curt Hart said the need for the center is more about practice times than actual contests.
"We'll still use all the same fields," Hart said. "This is just for adequate practice facilities."
Duffett said he is still open to the possibility of partnering if a group such as Avera is serious about getting something done.
"We simply can't wait," Duffett said. "I'm always open to partnerships, but the bottom line is we're going to get something done."
Hart said he is confident donors will want to help with the wellness center project.
"I have every reason to believe that people will jump on board and help us," he said.
As for a timetable on Avera's decision to partner with DWU, Clark said one has not been set.
"These things have a pace of their own," he said. "I would think sometime this summer we would at least have a fairly good handle on if we're going to participate."
As for now, Duffett and DWU are not planning on waiting.
"We're full speed ahead for DWU and for what we need," he said.