CONTACT: Russell Moore, Communications and Marketing, Wallace State Community College, 256.352.8443,

HANCEVILLE – Wallace State Community College’s Wellness Center employees are set to host a 20th anniversary open house celebration on Friday, Dec. 7, from 8-10 a.m., serving refreshments and presenting a photo slide show on the facility’s history.

Wellness Center instructor Mary Leah Moss and group of senior adult students exercising.

The Wallace State Wellness Center is a focal point on campus in 2012-13 as the college celebrates a Year of the Healthy Campus. Wallace State President Vicki Hawsey has encouraged employees to make health and fitness a priority. “Studies have long shown that healthy employees are more productive employees, so besides wanting our Wallace State family to be healthy because we care about each other’s wellbeing, it also make sense from a sound management perspective. Healthy employees miss fewer work days and set good examples for our students on a variety of levels,” she said.

The Wellness Center has served Wallace State students and the community since its inception in 1992, when it opened in conjunction with Tom Drake Coliseum. The Wellness Center upgraded four years later, adding a 7,000 foot room full of weight training and cardio training and basketball and volleyball courts.

During the last 20 years, the multi-purpose facility has been the home of all Wallace State physical education courses and has provided students an opportunity to seek degrees in courses for personal benefit and enrichment, while striving to attain a lifestyle of physical fitness and wellness.

“When the Wellness Center opened in 1992, Dr. (James) Bailey wanted it to be a facility that students or citizens from the community could come in and utilize to stay well and stay fit. He wanted the senior adult community to utilize it and people from business and industry to have access to it. His goal was also to reach out to people with heart problems or chronic diseases and for them to come in and be as well as they could be with their heart condition or physical capabilities,” said Cynthia Newman, director of the Wallace State Wellness Center.

Meanwhile, Wallace State athletics has benefitted from the facility. It’s functioned as the practice location for the cheerleaders, has classrooms that serve as the study hall for the athletes, features additional courts to conduct practice and has been essential in aiding teams when they host summer camps.

Along with the weight room and courts, the Wellness Center offers a Heart Link program to provide strategies to reduce the risk factors for heart disease and restore the health of those diagnosed with heart disease. The physical education courses offered in the building include weight training, general conditioning, aerobics, jogging/walking, scuba diving and slimnastics along with health education and sports medicine classes.

All-in-all, the Wellness Center is synonymous with all aspects of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

“I have a few students that have been here for many years, and I guess the most rewarding part is seeing the fact that they got involved in the program and it’s kept them healthy. I can see the reward that they reap from working out regularly and staying healthy. They stay out of the hospital and nursing home and prolong their life,” Newman said. “Senior adults tell me if they had not been able to come to the Wellness Center and get help, they wouldn’t be alive today. That is the rewarding part. It keeps them moving, keeps them living and keeps them out of the hospital.”

On most weekday mornings the Wellness Center is filled with occupants working out, ranging from students to senior citizens from the community.

“When I became a student here, one of my goals was to get in shape by working out. The Wellness Center is such a nice place. I had seen pictures on the Internet, but when I got here it was much better than I imagined,” said Wallace State sophomore Joshua Green, 26, who estimates he works out 10 hours a week on campus. “It’s also a great outlet for me to come here and get away from studying and all other things that may stress me out.”

Each semester, a large contingent of senior citizens gathers three times a week at the Wellness Center to exercise and socialize, assembling to participate in workouts and volleyball games.

“They are a core of the program and a lot like family. When we started 20 years ago we didn’t really think about there being such a need for seniors to come in, but as more came to the facility they asked about the opportunities available. They were assertive about it and wanted an activity that they could join and work out together with. We formed a class and word spread in the community,” Newman said. “It grew from four to six people and then it kept growing and growing, and now we have from 120 to 180 enrolled in the program each semester.”

The senior citizens always have glowing confirmations regarding the significant role the Wellness Center plays in their lives.

“Six weeks ago I fell and hurt my hip badly and was sure I broke it. My son carried me to get an X-ray and the doctor said my bones were in good shape. My doctor asked how I was such in good shape and I told him because I’ve been attending the Wallace State Wellness Center since 1997, working out and playing volleyball three times a week. He told me to keep doing what I’m doing,” said Wanda Carr of Holly Pond.

Added Gradon Chandler, 84: “I had a robotic heart procedure done because of a leak near my heart, but after a few check-ups my doctor said I had the arteries and heart of a 5 year old, and I take no prescription drugs. All I do now is check in with my family doctor once a year. My doctor said the reason I’ve been in such good condition is because I’m in this program right here at Wallace State. I’ve been all over the country, living in different states, and this is the best program I’ve ever been a part of.”

“I just had a kidney removed and was in the hospital overnight, and the doctor asked how I was doing so well. I told him I exercise three times a week at Wallace State,” said Casey Thomas, 82. “The activities we participate in here at the Wellness Center are some of the best things that have ever happened to me. I think it should be required that all old people have to exercise. There would be a lot less people in the nursing home.”

Wallace State students gain access to the Wellness Center when they register for physical education classes.

Wellness Center registration fees for the general public are $80 per semester for those under 55. Senior citizens can sign up to use the facility for $34 per semester.

The Wellness Center is open Monday-Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Fridays from 7-11 a.m.

For more information call 256.352.8346 or visit
File photo of student working out in the Wellness Center weight room.



Kristen Holmes
Director, Communications & Marketing
Wallace State Community College
P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077
1-866-350-9722 256-352-8118 direct
256-352-8314 fax 256-339-2519 cell
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