SunUte launches 24/7 Fitness

SunUte Fitness Director, Abel Velasquez jogs on a treadmill at the SunUte Community Center. The new 24/7 Fitness program will allow members access to the workout equipment around the clock.
Photo Credit: Jeremy Wade Shockley | The Southern Ute Drum

The SunUte Community Center is opening their facility to 24/7 Fitness, around the clock access to the weight room and exercise equipment located on the second floor. SunUte conducted a survey at the recent General Meeting, the suggestions that came back from the tribal membership was in favor of expanding the recreation center’s hours to accommodate a 24/7 fitness model.

This would allow for members of SunUte to work out on their own schedules, including nights and tribally recognized holidays. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to working out, for others this frees up valuable time during the weekend or evenings to spend at home with their families.

The facility was already set up for this, explained SunUte Director Robin Duffy-Wirth. The staff is working together to make slight modifications to ensure that safety is a priority and the transition to 24/7 Fitness access is seamless. She emphasized that 24/7 access is a membership privilege, and something that SunUte will strictly enforce for the safety and well-being of others. “It all comes down to trust. If they mess up, they lose their access — it is that simple,” Duffy-Wirth stated.

Some of the facilitie’s modifications include the installation of large security barriers, which will limit access to other parts of the building such as pool area and offices. Additional security cameras are in place to monitor the fitness areas and hallways, in addition to a new electronic entry system on the North entrance to insure only verified SunUte members gain entry after hours.

“Safety is our number one concern and that extends to our 24/7 Fitness,” Duffy-Wirth reiterated. Two 911 call boxes have been added to the community center, one in the fitness area and a second one outside of the main entrance. Panic buttons will also be provided to individuals to provide added safety. “We researched best practices for 24/7 facilities — and we upped it.”

Existing SunUte members would be required to sign an addendum, in addition to paying a $15 charge to cover the access key. This policy, and the upcharge, would apply to any member who wants access, as well as Southern Ute tribal members. Members need to plan ahead — paperwork must also be completed and approved prior to any afterhours access. Those additional funds go towards funding the Nana-Ma Giving Program. The name refers to a program that allows people to donate money and in turn, SunUte gives memberships out to families in the Ignacio area that are unable to come to SunUte. “This allows us to be inclusive with our community, Duffy-Wirth stated. “We feel really strongly about that here. How do we make sure that SunUte is available to people who want to use it, but can’t afford it.”

“People are really talking about it,” added SunUte Fitness Director Abel Velasquez, “I think it is going to give people so much more access to work out.”

November 1 was the original target date for opening the facility to 24/7 access, but security measures must be complete, and specialized barriers are the last item to finalize before the switchover becomes a reality in the weeks to come. “We put a team together to insure this would be successful from the start, Tyson Thompson has been indispensable,” Duffy-Wirth said.

“The biggest stakeholders and users are Southern Ute tribal members,” Duffy-Wirth emphasized. “So many people are excited about this.”

“It is our job to stay relevant in our community,” she added.









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