by Ralph Nollenberger
Our speaker today was Dave McClelland who is the part-time General Manager of The Hart Fitness Center. Accompanying Dave were Hart Center Board Members Tom Lang and Robert Chaloupek. Dave told us of his past experience as a building maintenance manager in Oklahoma prisons and colleges. He retired to FFB with his wife Frieda after visiting his wife’s basketball coach who lived here for years. Three years ago (3/2009) Dave took the position as General Manager of the Hart Center. His talents were sorely needed as the physical condition of the center was not good.
The Hart center opened Jan. 15, 2002.Today there are approximately 650 members, 550 Silver Sneakers of which 200 are active. The Hart center is a 23000 square foot facility with an indoor swimming pool, a hot tub, a sauna, a walking track, a weight room, an aerobics (work out) studio, a massage facility, a multi-purpose room, and The Baptist Health Rehabilitation Center.
By 2009 when Dave took the helm, things had begun to require expensive and extensive maintenance. Additionally, utilities and personnel expenses were very high. Building maintenance and cost cutting became the focus of David’s efforts. Personnel were streamlined from 4 full-time and 11 part-time employees to 1 full- time and 9 part-time employees. Utility expenses have been reduced 35% by employing computer technology and a “big blue” pool cover.
These cost savings have been achieved without a reduction in services to patrons. Projects that have been completed during David’s tenure have been: the purchase and installation of a new “pool pack” (the machinery responsible for heating, a/c, humidity levels, etc. of the pool area), the painting of the pool area and the front façade, warped wooden doors have been replaced with steel doors, a tile floor has been installed in the multipurpose room, an air conditioner has been replaced and aerobics room floor was replaced with laminate floor.
David expressed particular pride in the Hart center employees emphasizing their dedication and the quality of their work. David told of “The Friends of The Hart Center” who are individuals who buy a brick with their names engraved on it for $100. The funds are used to repay long-term debt.
The Hart Center is a private corporation and receives no funding from governmental sources. Initially it was built from proceeds from the sale of stock and from bank loans. Robert Chaloupek spoke to the fact that presently no stock is for sale but many stock holders have returned their stock to the treasury of the corporation. He anticipates a sale of stock sometime in the future.