WCC: Community-focused health and fitness focus is on the rise

While temperatures are beginning to drop outside, membership enrollment is rising at the Health and Fitness Center at Washtenaw Community College.

Dawn Lyons, the Fitness Center director, attributes the surge to the always-popular pledge to get back in shape after a little too much indulgence at holiday time. But no matter the season or the reason, the staff at the Health and Fitness Center is eager and ready to help those who walk through the front doors – whether members or not – to reach their health goals.

“What we want to help people try to do is make life-changing habits that they can sustain,” said Lyons. “It’s about a balanced life.”

The center’s nearly 7,000 members come from all walks of life and abilities.

The 75,000-square-foot facility features salt water lap and warm-water pools, cardio machines, strength training equipment, 100+ group exercise classes each week, indoor track, indoor gymnasium, full-service locker rooms, saunas, child care and even a café to refuel.

Recently added to the gym is an extended strength training area with new equipment and a “Next Steps” fitness program, which offers an individualized exercise plan supervised by certified fitness specialists.

Lyons said a misconception about the center is that only members can take advantage of services or programming. While the gym floor isn’t open to non-members without a guest pass, they can pay for and join in on swim lessons, personal training, nutrition counseling, behavior modification coaching, massage therapy, Pilates classes, and nutrition and well-being workshops.

Lyons noted that some nutritional and well-being workshops are free to the community and do not require a day pass. Follow the center on Facebook or visit its website to learn of free classes.

The center has been welcoming in the community since it opened on Sept. 1, 2007. It was incorporated under former college president Larry Whitworth’s leadership with a supportive vote by the Board of Trustees.

It earned a LEED credential from the U.S. Green Building Council within a year of opening, recognizing its green footprint in the community thanks to its energy efficiency and environmental awareness.

“One reason the college ventured into building the fitness center is because we believe a healthy body contributes to a healthy mind,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca. “We want all our students, employees and the entire community to succeed, and the center is an outstanding resource to accomplish this.”

Lyons recalled a recent conversation with a member who shared her motivation for working out.

“She was just feeling achy and didn’t have the stamina or strength she wanted. After working out with a personal trainer, she said she’s getting closer to the goal and she can interact with her grandkids now,” Lyons said.

“I think the other thing we should never overlook is the sense of community of the center. We’re not just a place for physical wellness, but a center that also builds mental wellness. Some of our members find that is the best medicine for them. There’s a social aspect here, which is huge to mental wellbeing,” Lyons said.

Operated in conjunction with Power Wellness, Lyons noted WCC continues to support the facility’s community-focused mission. 


Health & Fitness Center at WCC

Location: 4833 East Huron River Drive, Ann Arbor

Website: wccfitness.org

Initiation Fee: $70

Monthly Memberships: $66, seniors $59, students $39

Guest Pass: $20/day, $35/week, $70/month