The WELL postpones reopening outdoors to Wednesday pending Nelsen’s office’s review

Poor air quality delays plans, prompts additional review


Diana Rykun

The WELL’s windows reflect its south lawn’s autumn trees on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. The WELL at Sacramento State planned to open for outdoor fitness by reservation Sept. 17.

Jordan Parker and Chris Wong

No spin bikes or exercise equipment were to be found on The WELL’s south lawn for the facility’s planned reopening for outdoor services Thursday, which has now been moved to Wednesday, Sept. 23.

The reopening plan was originally approved in mid-August, but poor air quality from the California wildfires delayed implementation, WELL Director Kate Smith said via email. She said the Sacramento State President’s Office asked to review the plan again due to the delays.

“Since a good chunk of time has passed, the President’s Office asked to review the plan again,” Smith said via email. “This was not communicated to The WELL staff until after they had announced their Outdoor Program on social media.”

The WELL did not announce the postponement on any social media channels, and The WELL’s website and reservation page did not list a reason for the change as of the time of this publication.

The facility originally announced on its social media Tuesday that it would reopen Sept. 17 but The WELL is now scheduled to reopen for “DIY Outdoor Fitness” as well as slacklining starting Wednesday, according to the WELL’s website.

The WELL’s staff will meet with the President’s Office early next week to review the plan, Smith said. The Wednesday start date is “pending final approval” according to The WELL’s reservation page.

Look, we all want to get back in the gyms asap but with gyms still being closed, the WELL is actually ahead of the game, it’s too big of a structure to make sure everybody is social distancing so outdoor fitness may be the only for them to monitor people”, said Senior Communication major Jonathan Singh. 

However, after hearing about the reopening being postponed, Singh was among those that were disappointed.

“I’m a little disappointed but I understand what needs to be done has to be done,” said senior communications major Jonathan Singh via Instagram direct message. “I mean after all, we are in a pandemic so I won’t fault them for postponing their opening.” 

Story continues after tweet.

Smith said only one staff reservation was purchased, which was refunded for a future purchase.

Approximately 38 students made reservations, and all students were individually called and emailed about the rescheduling, according to Smith.

No students reported to The WELL that they purchased parking passes for their reservations, and only one student showed up who had not seen The WELL’s call or email, Smith said.

Sac State administration and Sacramento County previously approved the WELL to reopen, according to the website. The WELL used California guidelines and recommendations from Student Health and Counseling Services to create its outdoor programs and services.

“Throughout the entire process, Student Health and Counseling Services has provided guidance in partnership with campus Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety to ensure campus standards for safety measures would be implemented,” said WELL Director Kate Smith responding to requests for comment made Tuesday via email.

Smith said in the email that the WELL began planning over the summer for the possibilities of both indoor and outdoor services. The plans include: 

  • Updated staff training and procedures
  • Creating physically distanced equipment layouts
  • Acquiring additional PPE    
  • Identifying best cleaning practices 
  • Determining signage needs and space capacities
  • Evaluating building maintenance practices

The WELL announced via its website Tuesday that “DIY Outdoor Fitness” will be open for reservation Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Monday through Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Reservations can be made up to 48 hours in advance.

When The WELL reopens for outdoor services, Sac State faculty, staff and alumni will be required to pay $5 per reservation, but current Sac State students will not be charged to make a reservation.

Although the reopening is postponed, The WELL will continue to have virtual offerings for students such as fitness classes, climbing workshops and recreational therapy. 

The WELL has not responded to requests for comments on the outdoor services’ postponement sent Thursday. Sac State Director of News and Communications Brian Blomster said he has no immediate information available. 

Additional reporting by Jenna Cooper.

UPDATE: Sept. 18, 2020 at 2:14 p.m.

This story has been updated to reflect comments from WELL Director Kate Smith.