Choice fitness starts membership driveGrand Forks’ biggest fitness center set to open in 6 months
Under-construction Choice Health & Fitness is the latest example of Grand Forks going big. Following the lead of the Alerus Center and Ralph Engelstad Arena — larger and fancier versions of the previous civic center and UND hockey arena — Choice will be triple the size with more bells and whistles than the Park District’s current fitness facility.
By: Ryan Bakken, Grand Forks Herald
Under-construction Choice Health & Fitness is the latest example of Grand Forks going big.
Following the lead of the Alerus Center and Ralph Engelstad Arena — larger and fancier versions of the previous civic center and UND hockey arena — Choice will be triple the size with more bells and whistles than the Park District’s current fitness facility.
Choice will have 15,000 square feet, dwarfing the 4,500 square feet of Center Court Fitness. Because of the extra space and additional recreation options such as pools, employees will increase from 60 to 150.
With the facility’s expanse and payroll, more members are needed and anticipated. Choice is scheduled to open in early September, but the first membership goal is for 2013. The hope is for 6,000 memberships that will grant access to both Choice and the remodeled YMCA. That’s almost double the current combined membership of 3,500 for the two facilities.
“That’s a very reachable goal if you compare us with the percentages of people who are fitness club members in Fargo, Bismarck, Minot and Dickinson,” the Park District’s Cam Tweten said, comparing the membership to the population base in each city.
Although the opening is six months away, pitching the south-end facility off Washington Street has been ongoing for several months. Tweten, the Choice manager, said he spends 15 hours a week giving tours of the under-construction facility for organizations. Open-to-the-public tours also are available at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on the first Friday of each month.
Larger local employers have been lobbied to subsidize the cost of Choice/YMCA memberships for their workers. When construction is near completion, salespeople will return to the larger employers in an attempt to close deals.
“If employees get more active, there is less absenteeism,” Tweten said. “Studies show that for every dollar invested in a wellness facility, there’s a $3 reduction in medical expenses.”
For the general public sales, marketing will begin in April, with open houses in May that will allow individuals to receive a discounted package, Tweten said.
Monthly membership rates are $53 for individuals and $73 for families, granting access to both Choice and the YMCA.
“The advantage for us is that everything in Choice will be brand new,” Tweten said. “That means we can close Center Court on a Sunday and open Choice on Monday. We won’t be bringing anything over from the existing facility.
“It will be a nice, clean transition.”
Reach Bakken at (701) 780-1125; (800) 477-6572, ext. 125; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.