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Fitness center poised to open in Osceola

The new Wild River Fitness facility will include 14,000 square feet of space for programming and exercise equipment.

The new Wild River Fitness facility in Osceola will open Monday, Feb. 6.

Currently operating out of outgrown rented space, the non-profit fitness center's move marks a new chapter in its history.

With all of the excitement about more space, new equipment and expanded programs, it's the showers that seem to get the most attention, according to Lanette Johnson, fitness center manager.

In the seven-year history of the fitness center, first as a YMCA and then as part of Osceola Medical Center, locker room and shower facilities have been lacking. When the new facility opens next month, 1,600 square feet will be devoted to locker rooms.

That leaves some 14,000 square feet for larger group exercise rooms, larger space for Wild Kids child care and Wild Kats programming, and more room for weights and exercise stations. All told, the new fitness center is roughly three times bigger than the old facility.

"We're looking forward to having larger classrooms to accommodate the popular classes we have," Johnson said. Classes such as Zumba, winter Boot Camp and SilverSneakers have tested the limits of the existing space, now located in the basement of Hope Church just north of Osceola.

Youth programs will also be able to stretch out their wings in new space devoted just to them. Rather than having to double up on lobby space or an all-purpose room, youth activities will now have their own room adjacent to a new child care room.

Yet, "believe it or not, many members are almost more excited about having shower facilities," Johnson said. "Something as simple as having showers will add much more convenience to members and their guests," she said.

Convenience is actually a main element of the design, Johnson said. The easy-access lobby is nestled along the outside of one turn of a curved warming track and features a retail area for hydration drinks and other items. Continuing along the outside of the turn brings you past a lounge area and to the locker rooms. Group fitness classrooms, and the Wild Kids and Wild Kats areas are just across the lobby. Weights and fitness equipment will be inside the warming track.

On top of that is its site. Sitting next to Osceola Medical Center and the new Christian Community Home of Osceola, the fitness center shares some 130 acres of space. That offers plenty of opportunity for developing winter classes or activities, such as cross country skiing or snow shoeing, Johnson said.

Wild River Fitness will be hosting a grand opening before it opens to the public. Tours, prizes, kids activities, competitions, food and games will be part the event, Johnson said. "This will be an event for the whole family to enjoy."

More information about the open house is coming. The new facility is next to OMC just south of downtown Osceola. For more information, visit or call 715-294-2164.