More than 500 attend UNK Wellness Center grand opening, ribbon cutting

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University of Nebraska at Kearney Student Body President Connor Schulte, third from left, cuts the ribbon at Wednesday’s grand opening for the .5 million UNK Wellness Center. Also pictured, left to right, are: Kinesiology and Sport Sciences Professor Kate Heelan, former Student Body President Jordan Gonzales, Kinesiology and Sport Sciences Chair Nita Unruh, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Services and Enrollment Management Ed Scantling and Director of Facilities Lee McQueen. (Photo by Corbey R. Dorsey/UNK Communications)

KEARNEY – More than 500 people toured the new Wellness Center at the University of Nebraska at Kearney Wednesday during a grand opening event.

The .5 million Wellness Center is a modern 19,000-square-foot facility east of Cushing Coliseum. The center opened Aug. 1 to students and includes program and research space, in addition to a large fitness center and rock climbing wall.

The grand opening featured events such as tours, equipment demonstrations, challenges, free fitness classes and cooking demonstrations for students, faculty and staff throughout the day. A ribbon cutting and tours for the public took place in the afternoon.

The Wellness Center features the Physical Activity and Wellness Lab, which allows students to better apply what they’re learning in the classroom. The Wellness center features a demonstration kitchen, which will be used during wellness and nutrition classes. The space also will be used for community-based programming.

The facility also adds nearly 10,000 more square feet for exercise machines, weights, exercise and fitness classes. Aerobic and weight equipment are in separate areas, and a new fitness studio features classes such as Zumba and yoga.


Doug Kristensen, UNK Chancellor

“This is a celebration of a vision. There were a number of people who had that vision that contributed to it. And it’s all about one goal – what’s in the best interest of the students? What will help the students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney?”

“Today’s students are so much more attuned to the relationship of their bodies and minds together, and working their muscles and cardiovascular systems, and how their physical and mental wellness are one in the same. By exercising their bodies and minds here in these physical activities areas, they are better students and citizens.”

“This celebration is also about the faculty who teach and do research and provide educational outreach to the Kearney area community. Kinesiology and Sport Sciences has been one of the fastest growing programs here at UNK, with exercise science growing from 79 students 12 years ago to 230 now.”

Ed Scantling, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Services and Enrollment Management

“I would just like to thank everyone that has helped make this dream come true. It is my hope that the Wellness Center inspires many Nebraskans to join Chancellor Kristensen and I in living a high-level lifestyle.”

Connor Schulte, Student Body President

“School has been in session for only three days and students have already been taking full advantage of the Wellness Center and what it has to offer. With all of the extra space and equipment, whole groups of friends are now able to go workout together, whether it’s jogging on the treadmills or having a contest to see who can climb the rock wall the fastest. I, personally, have never seen this campus so active.”

Jordan Gonzales, former Student Body President (2011-2012)

“We are here this afternoon because we are standing on the shoulders of students from the past. They have given to this endeavor without reaping the fruits. For their generosity, warm words of thanks from a grateful University are more than warranted, but they aren’t nearly enough. There is no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of their foresight and efforts to advocate and champion the cause of an enhanced center for student wellness.”

“Today, we dedicate this building to a new generation of students, but we are mindful and recognize those who possessed the passion to invest valuable resources towards this grand undertaking. Their contribution is a lasting legacy – an indelible mark on this campus. Because of the students who helped make the wellness center happen, UNK is progressing on all fronts and continues to pioneer new frontiers.”



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