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East County Wednesday, Jul. 14, 2010 7 years ago

Athletic center expands to 24-hour schedule

by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Yvette Sherman is counting down the days. In just a few weeks, she’ll be able to work out whenever she wants. The Lakewood Ranch Athletic Center soon will be open 24 hours a day.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Sherman, an eight-year member of the center. “By doing that, it makes it more conducive for people who are working. It gives you more of an opportunity to get your fitness in.”

Preparations are under way as the center is installing a FOB access pad for members, as well as security cameras, 24-hour monitoring and pull panic stations so members can access and use the facility safely.

Because center personnel will not be onsite overnight, the pool and tennis courts will close at their regular times, 9 p.m., and 10 p.m., respectively. Fitness classes and other services, such as massage therapy, also will maintain their existing schedules, said Paul Lederman, director of club operations.

Lederman said the decision to be open 24 hours was based on feedback from members, particularly working professionals and younger members.

“This place has been open for 12 years, and we’ve had a lot of demand (for 24-hour access) from our members,” said Lederman, adding the industry standard is heading toward 24-hour service. “We feel we need to stay ahead of the game.”

Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club General Manager Wayne Piazza agreed.

“We want to set the trend,” he said. “We’re continually trying to find ways to meet (the needs of the members) and to adjust. Making it a 24-hour facility gives our members an opportunity to utilize the amenity at the beginning or end of their workdays. It’s all about providing service and a facility to the members.”

Through the access pad, the club’s base of about 3,000 memberships will be able to access the 13,000-square-foot fitness center that houses about 100 pieces of exercise equipment whenever they want.
Although no specific date has been set for the 24-hour access to begin, Lederman said it would start by the end of July.

The change is part of a five-year capital improvement plan the Athletic Center began implementing last year to make sure its facilities were meeting the needs of members. As part of that program, it recently added new cardio equipment with televisions, replaced the carpet in the fitness center with rubberized flooring and made improvements to the locker rooms.

Additionally, the facility’s deli, called the Player’s Club, was remodeled to look more like a cozy hangout space than a cafeteria area. The deli, which serves fresh, made-to-order sandwiches and salads, is open to the public Monday through Saturday.

Lederman said he also is looking into updating the resort pool and area, although those details are still under consideration.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

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