Exploring the Possibilities

January 15, 2018 – Full Issue

On Jan. 4, 2018, a small group of tribal members had the opportunity to visit Northland Pines High School (NAHS) in Eagle River, Wis., to tour its athletic facilities. The idea behind the visit was to give tribal members ideas as to what the new recreation center being proposed here could include.

To begin with, the entire NAHS facility is phenomenal in its construction and layout. It doesn’t even feel like you are walking into a school when you first enter the building. There is much more of a community center feel about the place and “community” was the motivation in building it. The Pines Community Wellness Center originally opened in collaboration with the YMCA. But about six years ago, the district took over and managed it themselves. Josh Tilley, dean of students, was the tour guide for the day, and he was extremely knowledgeable about the facility and the school in general. He was able to answer almost any question that arose, and there were quite a number put to him by the visiting group.

The main purpose of this day trip was to see what all the fieldhouse entailed and to get a visual sense of the size of the facility. It should be noted that NPHS does not only use this fieldhouse for school activities, but it serves as a community center as well. During the visit, many community area members were coming in and out (through proper security measures) to either walk around the track located in the fieldhouse or to use the fitness center.

The main fieldhouse (308 ft. long x 163 ft. wide) is equipped with four regulation-sized basketball courts with 22 basketball hoops. There is a 200-meter track, long jump pit, and vault hole to accommodate indoor track meets. A rock-climbing wall along with an assortment of rope courses are available. Permanent bleachers along with movable bleachers-on-wheels also allow for accommodation of just about any sporting event allowing plenty of comfortable seating space for spectators and athletes. These various features allow for use to host the school’s athletic events and as a hub for many community events within the Eagle River area as well.

Located in an upper room above the main fieldhouse area is the fitness center. Walking into this area is a bit overwhelming! There is an incredible array of workout machines, weights, bikes, treadmills, and different mechanical devices available to be used as part of a fitness program. In addition, there are different classes that can be taken to improve physical fitness and well-being. Some of the classes offered include chair yoga, spinterest, strong woman/strong bones program, total body senior, and cardiostix.

Community members are able to use these facilities at certain times of the day free of charge if they wish to just walk around the track. In addition, the actual fitness center does have membership plans that allow for more extensive use of the facility’s rooms and equipment. Some examples of pricing include an annual membership which is $300 (includes one free eight-week session per year); monthly memberships of $30; a one-week pass at $15. There are senior discounts and a daily pass for just $5. If interested in finding out more about these programs, go to npsd.k12.us/wellness center and navigate to the membership costs.

This was an informative trip to get some ideas as to what a community center could actually be like here in this community. Nothing is set in stone yet but getting ideas and thoughts are always a plus when building something of this size and budget.
McKenzie Carlson, UW extension economic development educator, helped coordinate the visit and is looking into visiting another community center/fieldhouse. Site is yet to be determined. Be on the watch for upcoming plans so that you can voice your thoughts and concerns.