Friday, September 18, 2009

Macon Health Club To Stay Open

"The Medical Center of Central Georgia will continue to operate the historic Macon Health Club, hospital officials said Thursday. Late last year, the hospital had signaled its intent to close the club in spring. The hospital offered health club members an opportunity to take over the club or make a counter proposal, and the intervening months have been spent in negotiations. The club now operates at a $100,000 loss, which Medical Center officials say isn’t sustainable in tough economic times. The hospital already identified about $43 million in cost savings through a self-evaluation process last fall that resulted in more than 200 layoffs. ‘No one wanted to see another shuttered building downtown,’ said Tom Sands, chief professional services officer for the Medical Center. ‘But we agreed that we had to stop the bleeding. ... The good news for members and the community is the downtown fitness center will remain open because community groups came together and addressed the challenge in a collaborative way.’ The health club is more than a century old and offers steam rooms, workout facilities, classes and a swimming pool, among other amenities. Its operating expenses run about $270,000 a year, hospital officials have said. Sands said the key to the hospital’s decision to keep the club open was a commitment from the Macon Health Club Inc. board and NewTown Macon to help raise funds for capital improvements there."

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