RIVERTON Last January, with snow on the ground, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the Family Life Center, north of Baxter Springs and west of Riverton on highway 69. While the temperature was on the cool side, those attending felt the warmth of progress when they chopped at the frozen earth as the dream of adding a Wellness Center took life. Now, less than a year later, that dream has sprouted into reality with the coming grand opening of the Spring River Wellness Center, a facility Cherokee County residents can be proud to attend.

The Spring River Wellness Center will feature state of the art equipment for building a more healthy body and mind. Featuring New Life Fitness cardio and strength equipment and New Hammer Strength, strength equipment the facility will offer group exercise classes including: Group cycling, Zumba, Boot Camp, Aerobics, Step and Yoga.

The building will have an indoor walking track, a FEMA storm shelter offering 24 hour access, and will serve as an emergency disaster building with generator backup.

Members will have access to locker rooms and showers, a full size basketball court, meeting rooms, a snack and smoothie bar, and a personal trainer will be available to monitor an individuals needs for therapeutic training in cardio and weight programs.

According to Melissa Cromwell, Development Director for the Family Life Center, the Wellness Center has been in the works for quite some time depending on grants, public contributions and the sale of tax credits. In order to receive a tax credit on your Kansas State Taxes you must contribute at least $250 to the Family Life Center for its Wellness Center Project. You will be awarded state credits worth 70 percent of your total contribution.

Cromwell notes that Family Life Center needs to procure over $136,000 by November 26 to meet a challenge grant from the J.E. & J.L. Mabee Foundation.

The Grand Opening of the Spring River Wellness Center has been set for December 3 and the hours of operation will be 6 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. There will be 24 hour access available for an extra $8 a month. According to Cromwell an elaborate electronic security system, using thumbprint technology will protect after hours users of the Center. A minimal one time registration fee will be required and incentives will be offered for automatic withdraw and paid in full memberships.

With the focus on residents of Cherokee County, the Family Life Center has decided they need a name that more clearly tells the story of their services so, as of January 1, 2011 the name of Family Life Center will be replaced with Spring River Mental Health and Wellness Incorporated.

Caleb Williamson is the Wellness Services Director and may be contacted for further information on the services and details of any of the programs offered by the Spring River Wellness Center.