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Don’t Worry! Health Plus Is Not Closing, Just Moving!

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Laura Osterman talks with Health Plus Manager Brad Awalt who shares updates about the Health Plus move. Laura also spoke with Brock Williams who talks about the community atmosphere and amenities in the new Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center.​

Begin Transcript

Laura Osterman:      Welcome to this edition of the Vanderbilt University Health and Wellness Wellcast.  I am Laura Osterman with Heath Plus.  I am here today with Brad Awalt, Manager of the Health Plus and Brock Williams, the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Facilities and Director of Sport Operations.  Brad, can you tell us more about the Health Plus move to the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center?

Brad Awalt:             Sure Laura, I can.  First of all, I want to say that Health Plus is not going away.  The Fitness Facility will actually be transferring over to the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center and will be managed by the office of campus recreation, and some of our team will actually transition and report to the office of campus rec, but Health Plus is not going away as I said earlier.  A lot of our programs that we have had for years that are designed to help faculty and staff be healthy such as the Go for the Gold, the Know your Numbers campaign, Hold the Stuffing, any type of educational workshops that you can do wellness coaching, all those programs are still going to continue, and Health Plus will still be here as a resource to help faculty and staff stay healthy.

Laura Osterman:      You mentioned the Fitness Facility will be transferring over, and so when is the last date the faculty and staff can exercise in the Kensington Garage location?

Brad Awalt:             The current Health Plus Facility at Kensington Garage on top of Kensington Garage, our last day will be Saturday, December 21, 2013, and from Sunday, December 22, 2013 all the way through January 5, 2014, faculty and staff will be able to exercise over at the new Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center as a trial basis.  There will be no fee during those 2 weeks, and then by Monday, January 6, 2014, they will need to purchase a membership to exercise going forward, but again our last day at Kensington Garage will be December 21, 2013.

Laura Osterman:      Great, and the trial period over the holidays, we would encourage faculty and staff to look at the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center website to find specific hours of what days they might be closed for holidays and such.

Brad Awalt:             And be sure, andfaculty and staff if they are going to use the facility during that 2 weeks, they need to bring their Vanderbilt ID badge as well to be able to get in there during that trial period.

Laura Osterman:      Do faculty and staff need to have a membership to participate in the Health Plus Programs?

Brad Awalt:             Absolutely not.  If you come over to get help for Go for the Gold or come over to have your Know your Numbers measured, if you are not a member of the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center, you can still come by our offices there, just come to the front desk and tell them what you are there for as far as Health Plus and they will direct you to the appropriate area, and we encourage people to come by and take part in those programs.

Laura Osterman:      Where in the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center will we find the Health Plus offices and the Health Plus team?

Brad Awalt:             The Health Plus offices, there is going to be two office areas.  There will be one upstairs, and there will be one downstairs right off the front entrance located directly behind the circulation desk where the turnstiles are, and that is where one will go to maybe get their Know your Numbers measured, a wellness coaching appointment, to get help for Go for the Gold, so that is the location downstairs where a lot of people will come for assistance for various programs.  And like always, we will still be all over this campus and off campus at 100 Oaks, Green Hills, out in Franklin offering our programs, so definitely be on the lookout to see us around campus and some of those off campus locations as well,

Laura Osterman:      Brock, can you tell us how we have got to where we are today with this brand new facility, the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center?

Brock Williams:        I think for a long time we knew that we really had outgrown the center and we needed to do more to diversify the things that we currently do there, but we actually enlisted a survey about 3 to 4 years ago asking faculty, staff, and students their thoughts, ideas, preferences to enhance the Student Rec Center and to meet their needs and their goals, and we did do that, and we found out that there were 10 or 12 that really stood out and as a result of that, that is where we are today.

Laura Osterman:      Now, I have had a chance to tour and visit this brand new facility and I understand it will be a community resource.  Can you tell us little bit about that community atmosphere?

Brock Williams:        Well, it is wonderful that all faculty, staff, and students can come together as one and share not only from a perspective from exercising but also I think the mental health wellness too.  So, I think with all the things that we have added,  the demonstration kitchen, being able to share, the multipurpose rooms that they will be able to use, the workout rooms, the bowling alley, I think as a community we will thrive. I am thrilled and I am excited

Laura Osterman:      Faculty and staff can come and visit, they could tour the facility.

Brock Williams:        Absolutely, between now and January 10, 2014, there they can call, they can just show up, and we will show them the whole place and give them a grand tour and answer any questions they may have.

Laura Osterman:      There has been a lot of work done in expanding the current facility and making more space for the workout areas, and our faculty and staff will work out altogether with the students and community.  Can you talk about that experience of working out altogether?

Brock Williams:        Well, I think you are going to find that we referred to them as neighborhoods, and I think you will see students probably gravitate to certain neighborhoods and faculty and staff gravitate to certain neighborhoods, but of course, there will be some interaction that goes on there, and we hope that that happens.  We expect that to happen.  But also, keep in mind too, we’ve listened to our faculty, staff, and students.  There are some family dressing rooms.  There are also some private dressing rooms and shower areas to meet the needs of I think everybody’s wants and desires, so that was very carefully done.  That was part of the surveys and things that people ask for so we are able to meet and accommodate those individuals that way, so it is going to be great.  I think it would be one of the top five in the country if not the number one wellness recreation center in the country.

Laura Osterman:      That is exciting, so something for everyone.

Brock Williams:        Absolutely, and the great thing is we got about 130,000-140,000 sq.ft. right now.  It is going to double.  So, I am ready, so let’s get it on.

Laura Osterman:      Good, and group fitness classes, I understand, we have expanded the group fitness schedule.  Can you talk about?

Brock Williams:        Yes, our good friends with Health Plus, Maryland Holmes, and our staff over the Rec Center have worked hard and worked well to make that happen.  And, if I understand correctly, we have doubled.  We are over 80 something classes now, which is unheard of.  I was floored.  Again, it is a little bit for everybody, those that are very experienced and can do high training aerobics to those of us like me a little bit slower and probably need a lower slower pace to get through a work out.

Laura Osterman:      Great, so variety of classes, and faculty and staff can take a look at that schedule.

Brock Williams:        Absolutely, it is already posted.  It is online.  I hope everybody will look at it, and we are also open to ideas.  There may be some classes out there we are unaware of that just started, that are new, and we will give it a shot and see what happens.

Laura Osterman:      Once you are in the facility with your membership, you have access to the pool?

Brock Williams:        Oh, anything, you got the pools, squash courts, racquetball courts, bowling, demonstration kitchen, the new field house, we can run around Olympic size track, intramurals.  We hope that our faculty staff will continue to participate in intramurals, and there is even a sprinkling of undergraduates and faculty staff who are on the same teams, and we do have club sport teams which actually travel around the country playing in conferences, which is pretty exciting and even faculty and staff could participate.

Laura Osterman:      Well, we are very excited about this new facility and all the opportunities it’s going to offer to faculty and staff.  For individuals who have questions, where would you direct them to go for more information?

Brock Williams:        Well, I think they can go to the website.  First, go to our Rec Center website.  Go to the Health Plus website or don’t hesitate to ask any of the staff, call front desk, and if they can’t answer, you can call me Brock Williams at 343-4411, and I will answer your questions.

Laura Osterman:      Wonderful.  Thank you so much for your time here today.

Brock Williams:        Thank you.

Laura Osterman:      Thanks for listening.  Please feel free to leave us any comments on this Wellcast on the form at the bottom of this page.  If you have a story suggestion, please email it to us at or you can use the “Contact Us” page on our website at

— end of recording —

Posted on Friday, December 13, 2013 in Health Plus, Wellcasts.

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