SALEM Athletic facility gears up for opening

Memberships for the new nonprofit center are now on sale.
SALEM -- A new $9.5 million community center being built will open in November.
Exactly when in November the opening will occur has yet to be determined, Eric Green, the center's director, said recently.
Construction of the 50,000-square-foot, two-story structure off North Ellsworth Avenue near 12th Street is proceeding smoothly and on schedule, Green said.
Work on the structure began in April 2001 and is expected to be virtually complete by the end of October, he added.
It will take several weeks after that to get exercise equipment installed, staff hired and trained, and to attend to the many other matters necessary to make a large facility operational, Green explained.
Memberships for sale
The center began last week selling memberships to the facility, which will feature a swimming pool, gym, indoor track, exercise rooms and many other features.
As of late last week, nearly 200 people had joined the nonprofit center through a variety of membership categories available, which include family, individual, student and senior.
Memberships will range from $27 monthly for people 16 to 60, to $22 monthly for those younger than 16.
People 60 or older with Golden Buckeye cards will pay $25 monthly. Full-time college students and high schoolers older than 16 will pay $24 per month.
Green said the center's goal is to have 2,500 to 4,000 people signed on as members in the facility's first year of operation.
No limit is being placed on the number of memberships that will be sold, Green said.
Considering the size of the facility and the area from which it expects to draw members, Green said he's not worried about overselling memberships.
"I don't think that will be an issue," he said.
Memberships are being made available at the Memorial Building, 785 E. State St. Days and times this week are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday. Days and times may change weekly, Green said.
More membership information is available on the center's Web site,
Administrative staff
Green noted that the center has hired most of its administrative staff: himself, a membership services director and an aquatics director.
Still to be hired is a wellness director whose duties will include public education regarding wellness and exercise, developing group instruction courses and training exercise staff.
Eventually, the center will employ nearly 40 full- and part-time staff members, Green said.

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