$71 million wellness center to open soon


The Well graphic:The Well combines fitness, recreation and health services. Features include a fitness center, a court, rock climbing walls, optometry center, a pharmacy and 22 exam rooms.:Megan Harris – State Hornet

Lauren Greenwood

After nearly six years of planning and two years of construction, Sacramento State’s $71 million recreational, multi-use facility will have its grand opening Thursday.

The Wellness, Education, Leisure, Lifestyle Center, or The Well, is a 150,000 square-foot facility that combines recreation, fitness and health services.

Building the facility is part of Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez’s Destination 2010 plan to change the commuter-campus reputation of Sac State.

“About every campus has a recreational facility for students. We are one of the last to obtain one,” said Mirjana Gavric, director of The Well. “We want our recreational center to be available to all and to be a place where students can get away from classes and jobs. Students need a place to relax and take care of themselves.”

The daylong event will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9 a.m., followed by guided tours, demonstrations and a dodgeball game.

“At the grand opening, we are attempting to break the record for the world’s largest dodgeball game and hope to get 1,000 people involved,” said Kate Costello, assistant director of fitness for The Well.

The Well includes a fitness center with a cardio room and a weight room, rock climbing walls, an indoor track, fitness areas, an indoor multi-activity center with stadium seating and big courts that can accommodate up to four games of basketball.

Peak Adventures and Student Health Services are also housed in The Well.

The Well provided the space for the health center to expand and update its facilities. The health center now has an optometry center, rooms for physical therapy, immunizations and lab services, a pharmacy and 22 exam rooms where students can see physicians.

Costello said wellness goes beyond physical exercise, and The Well promotes Sac State’s seven dimensions of wellness: intellectual, emotional, environmental, physical, career/financial, spiritual and social/cultural. She said inclusion of the health center and Peak Adventures help give students an overall picture of what wellness and healthy living mean.

Students pay $118 a semester to cover the upkeep of the facility, custodial maintenance, and programming costs for The Well. However, in order to have access to the facility, students need to turn in a registration form and sign a waiver, Gavric said.

Because The Well is funded by student fees, the facility is primarily for the students. Alumni who paid the fees for The Well when they were students between 2004 and 2010 care called “pre-paid” alumns and are invited to return and use the facility, said Leslie Davis, executive director of The Well, in an interview with KCRA 3.

Davis also said members from the outside community cannot use The Well because the facility is a nonprofit corporation whose affiliates are directly related to the campus.

Faculty and staff can use The Well at a fee slightly more than the student fee.

However, everyone is invited to use The Well for free during the opening week from Sept. 3 to 10.

Other services offered are equipment training, kinesis equipment training and circuit training to help familiarize students with the different equipment and exercise regimens.

Students will also have access to Mindbloom, a free gaming software that focuses on wellness and goal setting. It allows students to work on healthy lifestyles in a fun, interactive way, Costello said.

Moving into the spring semester, Costello and Gavric said they hope to offer more opportunities to students. Gavric said she is working with the kinesiology department and the recreation and leisure studies program to set up internship opportunities in the spring.

“We hope that the students take advantage of all of the opportunities at The Well,” said Tad Mackey, coordinator of information recreation and facility.


The idea of The Well was cemented in spring 2004 when students approved a measure to update Sac State’s recreational facilities by building a new Wellness Recreation Events Center to provide recreational activities, health care and facilities for events.

Gonzalez promised to raise $25 million for the center, and the remaining costs would be funded by student fees.

The measure increased student fees to fund The Well.

Fees went up by $10 the following semester, and then once construction began in 2008, student fees went up by $110 for each subsequent semester.

When the students voted on the measure in 2004, they were told the facility would have basketball courts, an indoor pool, a fitness center, a bowling center, child care facilities, a multi-purpose arena and a movie theater.

It would also have a health service center that provides physical therapy, dental and optical care and therapeutic massages.

The Well has most of these features except for the indoor pool, bowling center, child care facilities and a dental care center.

The Well originally partnered with the athletics department, Student Health Services, the university and the University Union, but as time passed, it lost the athletic partnership.

This resulted in a smaller budget.

“We had to cut back on some of the features, staff and services, like child care, that we were going to offer, due to budget cuts. The university’s decision to cap enrollment made us cut back on a lot of the programming,” Gavric said.

Gavric said the university board of directors and The Well advisory group, both of which have student representatives, were consulted before making the changes.

Even though The Well faced some setbacks in funding, Gavric said The Well administration did not cut of the employment opportunities set aside for students.

The facility employs 200 students and might have a few openings mid-semester, Gavric said.

The entire project ended up costing $71 million instead of the original $73 million, Gavric said. The Well received no private or corporate funds, and the actual construction costs were $52 million.

The remaining costs were paid for through the issuance of bonds.

Spokeswoman Kim Nava said Gonzalez promised to raise $25 million for the Alex G. Spanos Sports and Recreation Complex, which includes a field house and The Well, but could not comment on how much money has come in and how much has gone toward The Well.

Senior interior design and biology major Bebe Keonongtes said she is excited about the opening of The Well.

“We’re so stoked,” she said. “They’ve been building it for years and it better be worth all of the wait and money.”

Lauren Greenwood can be reached at [email protected]