Stivers Center future becoming clear

The future of the Stivers Wellness and Aquatic Center may soon have some clarity.

A public meeting was held Wednesday evening, January 3, 2018 at Union College’s Patridge Student Center to discuss plans for Union College to acquire the Stivers Center.

Union College President Dr. Marcia Hawkins presented preliminary plans, sketches and renderings of the facility, which will boast a 10,000 square foot addition to the current facility.

Dr. Marcia Hawkins shows a rough sketch of the proposed expansion (outlined in red).

The addition to the Stivers Center, which will be renamed the Stivers Center for Health and Learning, will be heavily community-focused in offering programs such as Boys & Girls Club for after-school programs, which bridges a gap for children between life at school and home. The Union College Boys and Girls Club was established in Summer 2017. Like it’s chapters across the nation, the local UCBGC will rely on gifts from local and corporate businesses to help fund programs geared for reaching children.

In keeping in the facility open to the public, it will additionally offer a proposed expansion of Union’s Campus Career Services, opening up to the community assistance with resumes, interview skills, creating business plans and more. The Center will partner with local agencies to increase the impact of workforce support in the community. The private acquisition of the Center, currently owned by the group Knox Partners, brought into question if the facility would continue to be open to public use as it currently is. “It will always be open to the community,” Dr. Hawkins assured.

Utilizing the existing facilities and additional programs, the Center will continue to serve the community through health and wellness programs, partnering with local health organizations to bring health fairs, health screenings and other services such as diet and nutritional counseling, directly impacting the health of the local community. Organizations such as ARH and PT Pros have expressed interest in utilizing the Center’s heated therapy pools for their clients.

The College’s acquisition of the Stivers Center depends on approval of a USDA loan, which is expected to be completed by mid-February 2018. The funding of this loan can be up to $750,000.

Union’s plan for the Stivers Center is to create a regional center for community learning.

“It’s going to be fabulous,” said Dr. Hawkins.

For more information on this story, see next week’s issue of The Mountain Advocate.