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Wellness center plans firming up

The Wadena City Council held a special meeting on Tuesday to discuss the proposed wellness center to be co-located with the high school and met with the WDC school board later in the evening.

Representatives from Perkins + Will, the Community Center and Tri-County Hospital participated in the meeting.

Plans for the community wellness center had been further pared down to an estimated cost of $15 million.

City Administrator Brad Swenson said the school board gave Perkins + Will the authority to plan for three gyms and a walking track with an option for a fourth public gym in the future.

Steve Miller of Perkins + Will also said the plan called for two pools: a therapy pool and a lap/leisure pool with slides.

Council member Jeanette Baymler asked if the lap/leisure pool would be adequate for a swim team, and Miller said it would.

Steve Miller of Perkins + Will said the school district was proceeding regardless of the city's plans.

"They can't wait around," council member Toby Pierce told the Pioneer Journal. "They've got to get going."

He said the school board preferred the wellness center connected to the school by skyway instead of being attached.

Concerns about the proposed wellness center walking track on the second floor above the school gyms were brought up in both meetings. One issue was crowd control and members of the public possibly using the walking track to view games without purchasing tickets.

Mayor Wayne Wolden said the goal for hockey was to have a new ice arena was this fall.

"How long can we wait?" Wolden said. "Do you reconstruct that arena by fall, save the hockey program, or do you try to wait another year and try to get the whole thing again in bonding?"

No exact date is set for the bonding bill and approaching the Legislature. Mayor Wayne Wolden told the Pioneer Journal it would take several weeks to draft a proposal to the Legislature, and May 15 was the Legislature's deadline to adjourn.

He said that some further discussion with the school board was needed regarding any lease, gym time, walking track time, aquatic time and ice time.