USF Health opens state-of-the-art fitness center

It was an exciting day at USF Health as hundreds gathered to celebrate the grand opening of a new USF Health Fitness Center on April 3 at the USF Health WELL. The new fitness center is a satellite facility of the USF Campus Recreation Center.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, USF Health leaders introduced the state-of-the art fitness center to USF Health faculty, staff and students.

“USF Health is all about health and wellness,” said Joe Ford, assistant vice president for USF Health Shared Student Services. “This new fitness center is a testament to our commitment to that mission and the health and well-being of our faculty, staff and students.”

From left: Edmund Funai, MD, chief operating officer for USF Health and vice president for strategic development for the USF System; Joanne Strobbe, MsEd, senior associate vice president for administration, finance and technology, chief financial officer for USF Health, and vice dean for administration, finance and technology for USF Health Morsani College of Medicine; Donna Petersen, ScD, senior associate vice president of USF Health, dean of the USF College of Public Health and interim dean of the College of Nursing, and Joe Ford, assistant vice president for USF Health Shared Student Services, pictured with Rocky the Bull before the ribbon-cutting. 

The 12,000 square-foot fitness facility is a full-service center providing high-tech cardiovascular and strength equipment, web-enabled treadmills, locker rooms with showers, and a fitness studio dedicated to Zumba, aerobics, yoga and meditation classes. The treadmills have full-functioning screens to check email, browse the web and even listen to lectures. The Well Fitness Center is open 6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“I am excited to see such a high-quality fitness center on our side of campus,” said Mayah Knight, undergraduate student at the USF College of Nursing. “As USF Health students, we spend so much time studying, in the classroom or in clinical settings, so it’s nice to have a space dedicated to our wellness where we can go work out and decompress.”

USF leaders and students cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the USF Health Fitness Center.

The fitness center is available to all USF Health students, faculty and staff. Students can use the fitness center for free. USF Health employees, excluding other personal services (OPS) employees, will receive a $240 taxable benefit from USF Health to pay for the annual membership. To be eligible, employees must OPT-IN to the benefit and agree to the terms and additional tax deductions. For more information, click here.

“We’re thankful to USF Health for opening such a beautiful recreation center,” said Kathleen Flach, academic director for the physician assistant program at USF Health. “It’s convenient, it’s new, and it gives us the chance to get out of our offices, take a break and exercise.”

Dominique Richardson, fitness coordinator at the USF Campus Recreation demonstrates workout equipment to students and staff.

“This center is so convenient for me as it’s right across from my office,” said Chad Whistle, director of student affairs at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. “I can easily work out at the fitness center, get lunch or a smoothie across the hall at the Rising Roll, and go back to work — all in one hour.”

Rocky the Bull tests the new treadmill at the USF Health Fitness Center.

USF Health will work closely with the main campus recreation team to manage the day-to-day operations of the fitness center.

“We’re happy to work with USF Health and bring fitness opportunities to health students, faculty and staff,” said Eric Hunter, director of the USF Campus Recreation. “It was harder for USF Health community to go to the main campus recreation center and get their exercise, so this will fulfill that need.”

USF Health promotes health and wellness, and the new fitness center reflects that mission. Ford said that USF Health couldn’t have done this alone.

“It took a village to make this happen,” Ford said. “Everyone from USF and USF Health leadership, USF Campus Recreation and USF Student Government played a role. We’re also grateful to Williamson Dacar Associates for designing a beautiful space — bringing our vision to life.

Story by Vjollca Hysenlika
Photos by Frederick Coleman