Blackhawks ante up for better health

Contribute $250K for fitness center at Moraine Valley

By Kelly White

Moraine Valley Community College held a groundbreaking ceremony last week at the site where the school's health and wellness center will be constructed, and as part of the festivities was presented by the Chicago Blackhawks a check for $250,000.

The donation will go toward costs associated with the fitness portion of the $34.5 million facility, which will feature a four-lane lap swimming pool, indoor walking track, three full-sized basketball courts, fitness center, athletic training room, group exercise studios, hydrotherapy tub, athletic offices, and field house with seating for up to 3,500 people.

The Blackhawks presented the check last Thursday. The college is negotiating with MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island for the naming rights to the 104,000-square-foot building, which will be constructed on what used to be soccer fields on the west side of the Moraine Valley campus in Palos Hills. In addition to sponsorships, financing for the center will be provided by two bond issues that Moraine officials have said will be paid back by fitness center memberships and student fees.

Physicians and nurses from MetroSouth Medical Center will be among the facility's staff, and will provide both physical and occupational therapy available to both Moraine students and residents of the college's district. Other medical services will include primary care services, sport medicine, specialized care and cardiac rehabilitation.

There will also be a childcare center for youths 6 to 12 years old, and a café that will partner with the school's culinary arts program. The center will offer internship opportunities for Moraine students.

In attendance at last week's groundbreaking ceremony was Palos Hills Mayor Jerry Bennett, who stated later that night at the Palos Hills City Council Meeting that he is looking forward to the benefits the center will provide to the college and the community. College officials anticipate construction will be completed in February 2014.