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Claflin set to open Community/Fitness Center
new kl claflin ladies
The Claflin Community Center kitchen was built with 95 percent volunteer work, and a few donations paid for everything else. These ladies clean up after a senior coffee. - photo by KAREN LA PIERRE

CLAFLIN — Numerous volunteers have put their hands together and established a new Community/Fitness Center for the Claflin area. The project involved refurbishing the old Claflin Elementary School for the new purpose.
An open house and membership drive for the center will take place  from 6-9 p.m. Friday.  Residents can come to see the upgrades and enjoy hot dogs, chips and hamburgers.
“A group got together and thought it was in the best interest of the city to keep the building viable,” said Kelly Nixon, president of Claflin Recreation Commission. “We’re extremely blessed to have businesses keep Main Street looking active. We’ve kept another building viable instead of vacant.”
The Community Center, which has a large complete kitchen and meeting rooms, is now located where the kindergarten and preschool classes were when the building was a school. This section has been completed for some time, and is used for many events including senior coffees. It is also available for rent.
Central Plains High School-Claflin held its prom and after-prom party in the Center.
The Recreation Commission moved on to a new phase one and a half years ago and began building an exercise area with state-of-the-art equipment, including treadmills, free weights and weight machines.
The renovations have been extensive and include such niceties as a flat screen television to watch during exercise, and air conditioning and heating. This is located in the old cafeteria of the school and is scheduled to be open for usage on  June 1.
Members will be allowed key-card access, so that they can exercise at any time of the day or night. Security cameras have been installed for safety, said Nixon.
“Our next goal is to do a lounge area that has coffee, health drinks and snack machines,” said Nixon. They also plan to open aerobics rooms with such classes as yoga.
The school gym is also available for events.
The community came together to support the Community/Fitness Center. The Claflin Recreation Commission assesses its own mill levy to Claflin residents, which helps fund the facility owned by the city. The CRC office will also be in the building, and they plan to offer offices for rent.
“We raised the mill levy (for CRC) and didn’t have a person complain,” he said. “It makes us feel like the community is behind what we are doing.”
Nixon said the building is in great shape and that the old Community Center on Hamilton was in bad condition.
There will be fees for the facility. For those that live in the taxing area of the CRC, the fee will be $60 for a single and $90 for a family per year. For those in the non-taxed area, the fee will be $120 for a single and $150 for a family. A visitor fee will be $5 for those from out-of-town.
Nixon said they are looking at business memberships, but nothing has been set up for that so far.
The Community/Fitness Center Open House will be a part of the Memorial Day weekend celebration. They also will hold a 5K/10K walk/run at 7:30 a.m. beginning at City Park. They will also hold a dance from 5:30 p.m. to midnight. Sunday will be the annual Knights of Columbus Golf Tournament.
Nixon said that this has been a project with many volunteers, including local businesses that helped with work.
In addition, the Claflin Museum will be moved to the old school, an action that was approved at a recent city council meeting.
“Claflin is a small community, and patrons have to be proactive,” said Nixon. “Claflin is a beautiful, small town.”