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Shovels fly as Maslowski project begins

Dignitaries and other members of the Wadena community broke ground in symbolic fashion Tuesday morning at the site of the new Maslowski Well-ness and Research Center. Kraus-Anderson is the general contractor of the project.1 / 3
Everyone manned shovels, including students from Wadena-Deer Elemen-tary, for the groundbreaking exercises the new center. 2 / 3
Minnesota District 9A State Repre-sentative Mark Anderson, who grew up in Wadena, made some remarks to the crowd.3 / 3

By Lori Schloeder Gress

The official groundbreaking ceremony took place Tuesday with a bounty of shovel holders ready to turn over the top soil and move the project rapidly forward.  From dignitaries to city officials to rehab patients and students of all ages and all abilities – there were shovels moving dirt to mark the beginning of the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center. 

     “Making a Splash in central Minnesota” was the theme for the celebration decorations of an inflatable pool, beach balls and other items complemented the most exciting part of the project – the 4 pool areas!  There were goldfish crackers for the kids and muffins with duckies for adults; everyone was given little rubber ducks for future promotions - such as “Duck Hunting” or “Duck Dynasty” to be announced by the Wellness Center in the next year!

     The WDC band, under the direction of Lisa Weniger played beautifully.  The VFW color guard presented the flag ceremony.  Mayor Wayne Wolden welcomed the audience and Pastor Nate Loer gave blessings to the project.  Master of ceremonies Kyle Gylsen read a brief history of the project while dignitaries Mark Anderson and Paul Gazelka were on hand to personally congratulate the community. Greetings from Klobuchar, Franken and Nolan were heard by the audience as well.

     City Council officials were thanked for their efforts in bringing the project to fruition.  And, the “naming rights” donors (contributions of over $100,000) were introduced, thanked and asked to have a representative step forward to hold shovels. 

     Additional shovel holders were introduced: Minnesota District 9A Representative - Mark T. Anderson; Minnesota District 9 Senator - Paul E. Gazelka; Wadena Mayor - Wayne Wolden; Wadena City Council Members:  Jeanette Baymler, Brian Hillesland, Gillette Kempf and Toby Pierce; Wadena City Administrator - Brad Swenson; Tri-County Health Care Vice Chair of the Board – Dave Quincer and TCHC Rehab patient Kathaleen Zeise.  Architects – Steve Miller/Michael Brandt; Contractor – Kraus Anderson/Chad Rettke; as well as another generation of sand pail and shovel holders: Connor Beiswenger, Jadyn Turcotte, Evan Schmidt; junior shovellers: Gavin Sperling, Charlize Picardo, Johanna Brunsberg, Alex Lunde, Bereket Loer and High School Students: Maizie Miller, Derek Garcia, Maddy Hinojos. 

     The groundbreaking ceremony was multi-generational, inclusive of all abilities and recognizing diverse backgrounds.

     “The mission of the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center is to provide the citizens of Wadena and the surrounding area, including Ottertail, Todd and Wadena counties, with a community center that responds to their cultural, educational, health, social, recreational, and wellness needs.”

     Construction for the Maslowski Wellness and Research Center is actually well underway.  Once the Wadena City Council unanimously approved the project a month ago, Kraus Anderson was on site within a matter of days.  With the project delayed a couple months longer than expected, the crews were anxious to complete some of the ground work prior to freeze. 

     The site for the project is just north of the new WDC Middle/High School and adjacent to the new Wadena Hockey Association Arena.  The facility will have a total building space area of 50,000 feet to include a state-of-the art aquatics center.  

     The Center will host a pool facility that will include a recreational area for families, lap pool swimming area, and a warm-water therapy pool with wheelchair access.  This warm-water therapy pool will be available to the area health centers for ongoing therapy programs.  A sauna, steam room, whirlpool and locker rooms round out the amenities of the aquatics area.

     There will be adjacent rooms to accommodate birthday parties as well as an outdoor patio area.  It is also important to note this pool will replace the outdoor pool which was destroyed by the 2010 tornado. 

     The second-floor fitness space is an open area dedicated to weight machines and cardiovascular equipment.  Adjacent classrooms will also provide for aerobic-type exercise and health education.  A walking track will encompass the area as well.

     A full size gym will provide for basketball, volleyball, and possibly a walking track.  This space will also accommodate trade show events and other activities.

     Two racquetball courts are to be located on the first floor and could also be used for walleyball and fitness classes.             

     There will be several conference-style meeting rooms to serve the needs of our community. 

     The Maslowski Wellness and Research Center is expected to take approximately one year to complete.

     For more photos of the ceremony, visit the Pioneer Journal at