Transcript Staff Writer

The wait is over, so to speak, for Cleveland County Family YMCA members.

It was one year ago this month that a renovation project at the facility. Today, the first permanent change is open for business ? a 6,500-square-foot fitness center.

The building already featured a fitness center, albeit in a smaller scale (2,500 square feet).

Needless to say, the extra space will be welcomed by YMCA members and administrators.

"What I am most proud of is having the space enlarged to serve more members," said Chuck Dandridge, chief executive officer of Norman's YMCA.

"More than being able to serve more members, the excitement is being able to take care of our members that have stuck with us through this time. It's been a long construction period," said Dandridge.

While the fitness center was closed, cardiovascular equipment was moved into a narrow hallway separating a pool from basketball courts. Weight equipment was cramped into a white-walled room which was more suited for an office.

Obviously, the new fitness center is much more spacious and easily accommodates cardiovascular and weight equipment, Dandridge said.

"It's going to give people ... a more consistent opportunity to have a healthy lifestyle," he said. "They won't have to sign up for machines. They won't have to wait. It creates a lot more conveniences for our members and the community at-large."

Additionally, Dandridge said the larger fitness center will allow for the use of exercise machines in a safer environment.

That equipment includes 52 for the cardiovascular system including 24 treadmills, 15 elliptical trainers, eight stationary bicycles, three Concept2 rowers and two arc trainers. There are approximately 20 strength pieces, approximately 20 free weight stations and three multi-stations.

Excluding strength pieces, free weight stations, multi-stations and rowers, each piece equipment is either equipped with a small television or has the ability to listen via user-provided headlines to six 42-inch televisions hanging on a nearby wall.

Dandridge explained the process of why machines were chosen over others.

"We tried to determine what gets the most usage. Our treadmills seem to get the most usage so we put more treadmills in."

Equipment has been leased from company Precor, which Dandridge said is more cost-efficient. And, Dandridge said, leasing allows for easier replacement since equipment has a life cycle of three to four years.

Scheduled to be complete next during this construction project is a multi-purpose room in approximately three weeks.

Brian Sargent 366-3546 bsargent@normantranscript.com

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