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Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Health and Wellness Center opening in November

October 8, 2018

DeKALB – After a few years of the project being put on hold, Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Health and Wellness Center is scheduled to open to the public after an open house next month.

Dawn Roznowski, director of community health services at the health and wellness center, said the design of the 111,000-square-foot facility on

16.6 acres of land was finished between 2012 and 2013, but the project was delayed because of other projects, such as then-KishHealth acquiring the Ben Gordon Center taking priority. Now, she said, Northwestern Medicine officials are preparing for an open house scheduled from

8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Nov. 10 at the center on Bethany Road.

In addition to offices meant to help with staff flow in patient disease prevention, Roznowski said, the center will include amenities such as a fitness area, a self service cafe, a locker room with sauna and hot tub, lap and warm water therapy pools and group fitness class studios.

She said people can pay additional fees for personal trainers and dietitians on staff, as well.

Roznowski said there also will be an outdoor area where people can walk on a mile-marked path, even if they do not have a membership with the health and wellness center.

“We wanted that to be very open to the community,” Roznowski said.

Roznowski said one component of the center’s inception was to have a medically integrated fitness center that could act as an extension to physical therapy for previous patients with degreed personnel able to help nearby.

The center will be able to provide a more specialized regimen for people who are looking to further strengthen their legs with an underwater bike in the warm water therapy pool. For example, all programs are meant to accommodate the adult population as a whole, she said.

“It’s not to say that people who don’t have those issues can’t come here,” she said. “We want them to come here.”

Joe Molter, fitness area director for the new center, said the center’s clientele could include people with orthopedic problems, pulmonary problems, diabetes or those trying to lose weight so they are fit for surgery. He said people with similar conditions will be able to come to the center with a referral from a physician once they’re done with physical therapy.

“When that runs out, they’re kind of like, ‘What do I do?’ So they come here,” Molter said.

Mayor Jerry Smith said he’d heard many people were concerned about what a new wellness center would do to its neighbor, the Kishwaukee Family YMCA, even before he was elected in April 2017. So he said he urged Northwestern Medicine President Kevin Poorten to make sure the Kishwaukee Family YMCA was “kept whole.”

“My sense is that happened, and it will continue to happen,” Smith said.

Smith said the new wellness center is good for the image of the city and effectiveness of serving a specific clientele.

“This center just adds to the quality of life and the visibility of our community, and that’s the result of a great partnership with Northwestern Medicine,” Smith said.

Roznowski said Northwestern Medicine and legacy Kish Health leadership started talking to Kishwaukee Family YMCA leadership about potential partnerships since the beginning of the project’s development.

After two years of exploring their options and touring facilities that had YMCA and hospital partnerships, she said, YMCA directors decided a partnership with the new health and wellness center didn’t jell with their vision.

Roznowski said YMCA officials have said on record during local government meetings that they were not interested in that partnership with Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital, but hospital donations to the local Y and partnerships in programs such as Camp Power will continue.

“We’re thoughtful in making sure that our population is different and not focusing on the youth part of it,” Roznowski said.

• Daily Chronicle editor Christopher Heimerman contributed to this report.

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