A $17,300 grant from the Foundation will assist in the establishment of a new community wellness center in St. Francis.
The new facility will be housed in the St Francis Community School, operated by USD 297. The school district will provide the utilities and water. The St. Francis Recreation Commission will promote, manage and provide cleaning services for the facility. Volunteers will assist in the staffing. The arrangement means the new center will be accessible and affordable to the general public. There will be a nominal monthly fee for use.
The Hansen Foundation grant will purchase the equipment needed to open the center. The plans include the purchase of treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bikes and cross trainers for cardio exercises. For strength training, the grant will provide balance balls, dumbbells, medicine balls and exercise mats.
The balance of the grant will purchase a scale, security equipment, a card reader for controlled entry, a water cooler, televisions and fans. The card reader will mean that members will have access 24 hours a day to accommodate all schedules.
According to a report issued by the Institute of Medicine, titled Quality Through Collaboration: The Future of Rural Health Care, rural populations exhibit poorer health behaviors, have higher rates of obesity, and exercise less often than their urban counterparts. Residents of Cheyenne County currently have little access to quality fitness equipment. The only public fitness center is located in the hospital and its use is limited to times when patients are not using it.
USD 297 and the Recreation Commission deem public health and wellness to be a major community priority. The project provides a means to improved health and quality of life, both of which are goals for the Hansen Foundation.