Jefferson Regional Medical Center held an official grand opening ceremony and open house reception Thursday evening for its newly renovated Pine Bluff Wellness Center.

Jefferson Regional Medical Center held an official grand opening ceremony and open house reception Thursday evening for its newly renovated Pine Bluff Wellness Center.

The grand opening capped a two-and-a half-year remodeling effort.

JRMC marketing director Rebecca Pittillo said the completion of the project marks a new level of health and wellness access for the people of Pine Bluff.

“We are grateful to our membership for hanging in there with us as we made these improvements and I am so happy that people have a facility to be proud of,” Pittillo said. “So there are no excuses now for people in Pine Bluff not to take care of themselves. This is one more way for JRMC to encourage healthy living.”

“We are really focused on keeping this community healthy and giving them a facility to do that,” Pittillo said.

JRMC manager Jason Rogers said the years of planning and construction have paid off.

“We’re so proud to finally have it done,” Rogers said. “It has been a long time coming. To see it come to fruition is very satisfying. I have heard nothing but positive comments about it and it is certainly edifying to hear.”

Pittillo is particularly excited about the new outdoor patio space adjacent to the main workout room.

“Before we had a tiny patio with one table and you would have people crowding around it,” Pittillo said. “I believe the new patio will be utilized a lot in the spring and fall and can even be used for yoga classes. The patio is just great as a place to hang out.”

Pittillo said new locker rooms are part of the improvements.

“One of the things that we’ve done on the outside is expand our parking and add a pass-through driveway that bridges a large ditch which had previously caused a lot of parking congestion,” Pittillo said.

Rogers said the Pine Bluff facility has around 2,000 members and the White Hall location has around 650 members.

“If you have a 25 percent usage rate by your members, and we do, you are doing well in this industry,” Rogers said. “We do hourly tallies of the facility to see how many people are utilizing the different fitness options we offer. We use these numbers to see what we need to adjust. We get new exercise equipment on an ongoing basis.”

Exercise equipment available at the Wellness Center includes treadmills, elliptical machines, weight machines and free weights.

One of the more striking features of the main equipment room is an industrial ceiling fan, 20 feet in diameter, that hangs from the center of the gymnasium ceiling.

Exercise classes

The Wellness Center offers a wide variety of exercise classes for all levels of ability.

“No matter what special needs you may have we’ve got something for you,” program coordinator Brandy Baugh said. “We have a small staff and we like to say that we give our members the ‘Cheers’ treatment because just like the on the television show we’re somewhere where everybody knows your name.”

Baugh said she and her staff can put together an exercise and wellness plan for anybody.

“When a new member joins we offer a free orientation in which we consult with them and find out exactly where they are and what their goals are,” Baugh said. “We have people with high blood pressure and other chronic conditions who are members as well as heart transplant patients.”

Classes provided by the Wellness Center include high-impact aerobics intended to burn fat; low-impact workouts; yoga and classes tailored to seniors including a group exercise class focused on strength building and flexibility enhancement and a class tailored specifically to people with arthritis.

“We have over 50 group exercise classes every week,” Rogers said.

The Wellness Center offers memberships of $46 per month for individuals; $61 per month for couples; $71 per month for families and $33 per month for JRMC employees.

A one-time joining fee of $25 per person for children 17 and under and $50 for those 18 and over will be waived through the end of February according to Rogers.

The Pine Bluff Wellness Center is located adjacent to the hospital at 1301 W. 40th Street. The phone number is (870) 541-7890.