Suffolk County Community College officials welcomed students, staff, faculty and local residents Friday morning to the eastern campus’s long anticipated Health and Wellness Center grand opening.
The 40,000-square-foot facility in Northampton houses an ADA-accessible, eight-lane, indoor swimming pool, which is the first public pool available to East End residents. The 25-yard pool was built for sanctioned competitive swimming and diving and includes bleachers, an interactive scoreboard and sound system as well as LED lighting. Also included in the $21 million building are a gym, a weight room and two classrooms.
“We’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time,” said Irene Rios, eastern campus CEO and executive dean. “Increased access, enhanced academic opportunities and expansion of our resources are just a few of the envisioned outcomes that this new facility provides.”
The center’s 11,500-square-foot gym features an indoor track, six backboards, a divider and striping for basketball, volleyball and badminton. The 2,200-square-foot weight room, meanwhile, comes with treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals and nautilus equipment as well as free weights. Also included in the weight room is an eight-station climbing wall, with a belay bar at each station.
Ms. Rios said the center affords the eastern campus’ 4,000 students the ability to complete physical education requirements and lead healthy lifestyles. It is also a space where sporting and community events may be hosted, she said. Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the town plans on using the facility, too, to train lifeguards and police department rescue divers.
Calling community colleges a “gateway to higher education,” State Senator Ken LaValle said it was essential that SCCC have the facility on site.
“The people of our county deserve nothing less,” he said.
State assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. said that for many years, local officials lamented the fact that the eastern campus did not provide students will a full college experience. The facility has, after all, been in discussion since the early 1970s.
“Not only does this incredible facility represent an investment in community health, but as a coastal community, it allows a valuable opportunity for residents to develop a safe relationship with the water,” Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming said.
Officials cut the ribbon to the building in the pool area Friday morning, but the facility has been open to students since February. Annual membership fees for the center – specific to Suffolk County residents – are $275 for adults, $220 for children up to grade 12 and seniors who are age 60 and over and $720 for families (head of household, spouse, dependents under 18 years or under 23 if enrolled as a full-time student).
Membership applications and facility hours of operation can be viewed here.
“This isn’t something just for the college,” Mr. Thiele said, “it’s something for the community as a whole.”
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