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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Aug. 10, 2018 2 months ago

The Center for Health & Wellbeing takes shape Winter Park

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The 80,000-square-foot facility opening early next year will offer the community programs for whole person health, medicine, and fitness.
by: Tim Freed Associate Editor

The skyline is changing between Ward Park and Winter Park Memorial Hospital — and that’s good news for residents looking to stay healthy in every way.

The Center for Health & Wellbeing is pressing on in the construction phase, moving closer to its final reveal to the community.

It’s a two-story, roughly 80,000-square-foot facility off Mizell Avenue behind the hospital that will include a fitness area with an indoor walking track; medical offices; a culinary theater; a childcare center; a cafe; an exercise pool; a lap pool; a community conference room; a mind, body and spirit room for yoga and other classes; a cycling room; and a four-story parking garage

The $40 million project is adjacent to a piece of Ward Park as well, and there will be six outdoor garden areas surrounding the building — blending the state-of-the-art facility with a bit of green space.

“As far as what it’s going to mean to the community and how special it is, it truly is — from our research — a one-of-a-kind facility,” Winter Park Health Foundation Executive Vice President Debbie Watson said. “It’s unique in its design alone. It is the first place that we have found that really does combine those three areas of whole person health, medicine and fitness. In addition to including those things from a service perspective, (the facility) really focuses on education and providing the community with educational opportunities.

“We’re bringing to the community this hub of three things that are beyond what I know this community has ever seen all in one convenient location,” she said.

Guests entering the center will have the chance to work with staff to find out where they stand health-wise and how they feel. The center staff then can direct the visitors to programs and educational opportunities to help support an area of wellbeing, whether it’s emotional, social, vocational, environmental, intellectual, physical or spiritual.

Winter Park’s new all-encompassing center will be run jointly by Florida Hospital and the Winter Park Health Foundation.

“It truly is a unique opportunity to develop one culture for the building, which is what we’re working on,” Winter Park Health Foundation Chief Financial Officer Ron Lambert said. “For the most part, Winter Park Health Foundation will take the lead on operating the shared spaces, but it is a collaborative effort in designing how the building is going to operated, the people that are going to be working at the center and the vendors that we’re going to use.”

The project replaces the former Crosby Wellness Center built in 1989. Staff at the Winter Park Health Foundation — which owned the center — began talks six or seven years ago, realizing the facility needed to be either renovated or replaced. Watson said they wanted to recognize the needs of the community from a broader sense — not just fitness and physical activity.

That’s when the Winter Park Health Foundation realized the city deserved a grander facility that offered the continuum of education, wellness, fitness and medicine.

“The vision was born,” Watson said.

It’s exciting to see the project come to life through the construction process, Lambert said. What started as a concept is now becoming a reality. 

“The rubber is really hitting the road,” Lambert said. 

The Center for Health & Wellbeing is tentatively set for a soft opening in mid-December, with a grand opening planned for sometime shortly after the new year starts.

 

Tim Freed is an Associate Editor with the Winter Park/Maitland Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

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