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Ellinwood Wellness Center open
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Angel Briseno, Ellinwood, tries out some of the new circuit equipment at the new Ellinwood Wellness Center. The community-supported facility, located on the second floor of Ellinwoods Sunflower Bank building on Main Street, is now open. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

After four years of planning and work by the Ellinwood Recreation Commission, the dream of opening a year-round fitness facility was realized Friday morning with the grand opening of the Ellinwood Wellness Center.   
Commission chair Mel Waite and the Ellinwood Chamber of Commerce  greeted community members gathered in the facility’s all-purpose room to mark the occasion.  The room will hold classes and special programs, and at some point in the future will also provide on-site babysitting.  
“The goal of the commission has always been to offer programing for our community,” Waite said.  “We are not a profit-driven enterprise, and we depend on the partnerships we’ve created within our community to keep the cost accessible for everyone.”  Memberships for single people will be $25 a month, and for families, $35 a month.
Waite thanked several corporate and community organizations for their financial and in-kind contributions to the project, as well as a handful of individual donors, including one wishing to remain anonymous who donated $3,000.  
The facility offers a variety of cardio equipment, circuit and free weights stations.  HB Communications donated several flat-screen televisions and will provide cable and wi-fi signal at no cost to the center.  In the near future, the commission hopes to have wireless transmitters configured for each television so patrons will be able to choose which television they wish to listen to through the headphones on their personal wireless devices.  
“This is a huge asset for Ellinwood,” said Mayor Frank Koelsch.
Located on the second level of the Sunflower Bank Building on Main Street, it will be open from the start of business in the morning until 10 p.m.  From 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., members will be able to access the center by swiping their membership card in the security card reader.   
Angel Briseno and his family were there Friday morning for the ribbon cutting.  Briseno works at the Ellinwood Community Hospital/  Friday he took a few moments to demonstrate how some of the circuit machines work.  
“I’m excited to have a place where we can work out close to home,” he said.