MANASSAS — After almost four years of service to residents of Prince William County, the Fitness Center at Prince William Hospital will close Feb. 1.
The news caught the center’s 680 members by surprise, and many were angered by the announcement.
“This has been a very difficult decision for the management of Prince William Health System and not one that was taken lightly. Many employees and residents have enjoyed the benefits. We have been fortunate to have an exceptionally talented and committed staff in this department,” said Prince William Health System’s Cynda Tipple, vice president of strategic development.
She said the first priority will be to transfer the six, full- and part-time employees to other departments or give them severance pay. The training and exercise equipment will either be used in other parts of the hospital or sold.
Prince William Hospital is experiencing tremendous growth in services, Tipple said.
“The needs to expand our facilities and programs to meet community medical requirements are extensive. Given multiple, competing demands for capital investment and management focus, the decision was made to close the center,” she said, adding that while the fitness programs are important to community health, it is not a service that is part of the hospital’s core business or a service that is not available through other facilities in the community.
The hospital is taking every appropriate measure to make the transition to a new fitness facility as easy as possible for its members, Tipple said.
The hospital will be holding open forums for center members to ask questions, voice concerns or offer their ideas at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Purple Room; at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Orange Room; and at 6 p.m. Dec. 13 in the Purple Room.
The Fitness Center will feature other area fitness facilities at a reception in January at the Wellness Center, giving members the opportunity to preview their program and services.
Tipple said that all members who have prepaid membership dues will receive a refund prior to Feb. 1. The Wellness Center’s educational services will continue as scheduled. This includes diabetes education, nutrition counseling, maternal child health education and community safety programs. Physical therapy programs will also go on.
Judy Solomon of Manassas said she was disappointed to receive a letter that the facility was closing.
“I joined, along with my husband, Rodger, a year ago, because we wanted a quality fitness program. We felt comfortable going to the fitness center and being with people that came there and not with a bunch of jocks at some other training facility.
“I feel the hospital administration is making a big mistake in closing it down.”
Staff writer Bennie Scarton Jr. can be reached at (703) 368-3101, Ext. 125.