The JCC MetroWest fitness center unveiled its $600,000 facelift on Sept. 21 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by members, staff, and board members. It was followed by small group tours and equipment demonstrations.
“It’s the first time we’ve invested significantly since the opening of the fitness center in the current location,” said Chris Strom, JCC MetroWest’s chief operating officer, referring to the major renovation of the West Orange JCC, completed in 2007. The equipment was previously upgraded in 2013. “It’s been a whirlwind getting everything up and running.”
The center had been closed since Aug. 31, when some of the equipment was moved into a conference room for members’ use; that equipment was later sold.
Sixty-five new pieces of Precor cardio equipment, including treadmills and ellipticals (both standing and seated), were installed in the renovated fitness center, along with what Strom called an “adult jungle gym” — technically known as a Queenax Functional Trainer, which offers multiple accessories for a variety of workout options using one’s own body weight as a counterbalance.
The facelift also includes fresh paint — purple, yellow, and brown — and new flooring and graphics on the walls. Other upgrades were completed earlier in the summer without needing to close the center itself: The cycle studio bikes were replaced, bars were installed in the studio used for barre-style classes, and new flooring was laid in the group fitness studio. Additionally, in July new tiling and showers were installed in the women’s locker room.
The 2007 expansion and renovation of the JCC building, including the fitness center, led to serious fiscal challenges for the institution, with a $3.1 million deficit. In response, the JCC pulled out of the Aidekman Community Campus in Whippany, closing its satellite early childhood center and bringing in Gold’s Gym to manage the gym. (The fitness facility has changed hands several times since then.) In 2008 JCC MetroWest launched a $9 million campaign to retire the remaining outstanding debt.
This time, Strom said, the money for the renovation and equipment upgrade was part of the annual budget, and neither the footprint nor the layout of the gym has changed. Additionally, the equipment has been leased rather than purchased. “This was something absolutely within our budget,” said Strom.
“The fitness center has not been neglected, but this work should have been done earlier,” said Strom. “It was a long overdue update.”