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Round Lake gets physical

Laura grevas/ Daily Globe Bob Demuth Jr. (far left), executive director of the Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation Inc., passes a check for $100,000 to Round Lake-Brewster School District K-12 principal Nate Hanson (right) Thursday at the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce. Behind the check are foundation board members (left to right) Carla Olson, Dawn Gordon, Trevor Nickel, Diane Schettler, Phillip Benson and Becky Schilling.1 / 2
Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Members of the Raider varsity basketball team work out in the Round Lake-Brewster Community Fitness Center as part of their practice Thursday afternoon in Round Lake.2 / 2

ROUND LAKE -- After only a few months of preparation, the Round Lake-Brewster Community Fitness Center is open for business, providing the tiny community with a more local wellness option.

"A lot of the people had to drive to Worthington before, so I think this is convenient for them to save the commute and use the equipment here," said Janet Haren, who manages the center. "We're really fortunate to have what we have, and the prices are really reasonable."

The fitness center features elliptical machines from Octane Fitness; and Life Fitness treadmills, free weights and multi-purpose weight machines.

The equipment is housed in a former classroom at Round Lake-Brewster High School and is arranged for circuit training, with odd-numbered machines intended for weight training and even-numbered machines for a cardiovascular workout.

"We have it set up so you're not always working the same muscle group back to back," Haren explained.

"A lot of the students volunteered ... to help move in all the stuff so that was kind of neat to see as well," she continued.

"We had community members to help put this all together," added K-12 principal Nate Hanson, who applied for a $100,000 grant for the center from Worthington Regional Health Care Foundation Inc. in October 2009. The district was awarded the grant and Hanson purchased the equipment -- all new -- from Second Wind Exercise Equipment in December.

"The board of directors felt that this request fit the mission statement of the foundation," said Bob Demuth Jr., the foundation's executive director. "And also, five years ago, a bachelor farmer (from the Round Lake area) donated a substantial amount of money to the foundation; and we are happy to reinvest some of that money in the area."

The group's mission is to promote the health and education of area residents.

In a separate room near the school's stage are four new spinning bikes and two traditional stationary bikes. Haren will lead classes in spinning, circuit training, aerobics and the popular 3-2-1 program that provides a total body workout.

More than 60 people came to tour the facility during an open house earlier this month and approximately 70 members have already joined.

"I think everybody was kind of surprised with just how nice the equipment is. We got a lot of positive feedback," she said.

"We've been excited with the gamut of people coming in, from junior high all the way to senior citizens," added Hanson. "Having a healthy lifestyle makes a strong community. ... Our motto is 'Fit for Life.'"

The equipment will be used in conjunction with the school's physical education classes and for athletes' strength and conditioning camps during the summer months.

"The (hours of operation) and activities will be adjusted to fit community desires," Haren said. "We'd like to do something to get the community involved, like have a 'Biggest Loser' contest or just something tailored to the needs of the community."

The finishing touches are still being placed on the Round Lake facility -- there will eventually be televisions in the workout room and additional locker rooms, for instance -- but folks in Brewster haven't been left out.

In the future, the center will have an unstaffed satellite facility in Brewster.

Haren said she will teach classes a few days a week at the Brewster site.

"Brewster has a bigger variety of hours so if we we're closed, they have the option to go to Brewster and they can still get their workout in," she added.

In addition, hallways in both schools will have mile markers for those who walk laps outside of school hours.

The Round Lake-Brewster Community Fitness Center is open 5:30 to 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday. Contact Haren at (507) 945-8123 Ext. 22 for more information.