A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

St. Elizabeth Center for Healthy Living, expansion of R.C. Durr YMCA, another step in a healthier NKY

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

The ribbon was cut in Burlington Thursday for the $2.7 million St. Elizabeth Healthy Living Center and expansion of the R.C. Durr YMCA.

Jorge Perez, President and CEO YMCA of Greater Cincinnati at Thursday’s ribbon cutting. Perez said the expansion said the project will make both the R.C. Durr YMCA and St. Elizabeth Healthcare stronger (photos by Mark Hansel).

Project partners St. Elizabeth Healthcare and YMC of Greater Cincinnati, say it is a major step in improving the quality of life for the people of Northern Kentucky.

Jorge Perez, President and CEO YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, said the project will make both organizations stronger.

“When we think of these partnerships, it’s not simply two individuals or two groups coming together hoping that they can make things slightly better,” saidPerez. “When we think about transformation, we think about systematically and fundamentally shaping, not just the work that we do, but the impact that we make on the community.”

The St. Elizabeth Healthy Living Center will bring together medical and fitness professionals to help individuals achieve improved healthcare. The approach emphasizes a focus on prevention and lifestyle changes as an essential part of healthcare in the future.

Jason Wessel, assistant vice president for professional services at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, said the organization has a vision to lead Northern Kentucky to become one of the healthiest communities in America. While Wessel acknowledges that is an ambitious goal, the St. Elizabeth team is confident it is a vision that can be realized.

“(This facility) is the living embodiment of our vision,” Wessel said. “If Northern Kentucky is to reach our lofty health goal, then it is going to take an integrated approach to health care and prevention and this partnership is uniquely designed to provide just that.”

A large crowd was on hand Thursday for the unveiling of the expansion of the R.C. Durr YMCA in Burlington

The center will include an additional 3,000 square feet dedicated to fitness, $250,000 in state-of-the-art strength and cardio equipment, and a Performance Training Room. It will also feature expanded group exercise and youth development space, a consultation room for St. Elizabeth and the St. E. Physical Therapy Center.

Wessel said the facility is the first of its kind in the region and will bring together medical and physical professionals in one spot to focus on treatment, prevention and lifestyle changes.

“It is important for us to be the leader and set the tone in Northern Kentucky,” Wessel said. “These are truly our people and we need to lead them to live longer and to live better; that starts with health and wellness. It starts with emphasizing prevention and lifestyle changes.”

Deborah Jo Durr said the upgrades are wonderful and she would give anything if her late husband, R.C. Durr, were alive to see all of the positive changes to the facility that bears his name.

“He believed so much in the YMCA,” she said. “He loved children, he loved the sense that there is such a family center with the YMCA and it really has become a community center.”

The St. Elizabeth Healthy Living Center inside the newly expanded R.C. Durr YMCA will help promote a healthier Northern Kentucky using an integrated approach (click to enlarge).

The goal of YMCA of Greater Cincinnati is to strengthen communities through a focus on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility.

St. Elizabeth Senior Vice President and Nursing executive Vera Hall, a Boone County resident and a Board member of the R.C. Durr YMCA, said the healthy living center achieves many of the shared objectives of St. Elizabeth and the YMCA . She sees the healthy living center as a one-stop shop for all things health and wellness related in Northern Kentucky.

“When we started talking about it, we had to go a few hours to find another healthy living center and we felt like Northern Kentucky needs it, so we were going to go after it, and we did,” Hall said. “With the value of the expertise of both organizations, really we can attack some of the biggest health issues that plague our community and also provide our community with the building blocks to a healthy lifestyle.”

Florence-based Mark Spaulding Construction developed Phase I of the project, which broke ground in November and was completed on budget and on time

Phase II of upgrades to the facility will expand the existing building to the west and will include an additional basketball gym with an elevated walking track and three early learning child care centers.

A timetable for that phase has not yet been identified.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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