The Sioux Falls City Council votes to purchase the Sanford Wellness Center

The City of Sioux Falls is moving forward with a plan to open the Sanford Wellness Center at 8701 W. 32nd St.

The Sioux Falls City Council voted 6-2 Tuesday in favor of the $9 million purchase, which is estimated to include another $3 million for roof and parking lot repairs, as well as ADA-related improvements.

With the purchase, the city will receive 70,000 square meters of recreational space, including an additional swimming pool.

The need for additional indoor space, including inland waterways, has been raised in multiple public surveys and in consideration of the upcoming aquatic bond. Budget constraints led the city to recommend one indoor option, at Frank Olson Park, despite support for additional indoor water on the west side.

With Sanford Health’s offer, “it was really a great opportunity for us to increase the priority of indoor recreation for our community,” said Chief Financial Officer Shawn Pritchett, who called the purchase “pennies on the dollar relative to what we would pay for.” have to build” and a price reduction of 40 percent compared to the appraised value.

The Sanford Wellness building opened in 2006, originally under Sioux Falls Family YMCA in partnership with Sanford Health, before being fully transferred to Sanford about a decade later.

The city plans to use it for a wide range of programs related to indoor and health and wellness, Pritchett said.

The building currently includes:

  • Performance area
  • Zero depth swimming pool with slide
  • Cycling studio
  • Bubble bath
  • Steam bath
  • Sauna
  • Racketball courts
  • Basketball courts, college and high school sizes
  • Cardio and strength equipment
  • Running/walking course
  • Children’s room

Although the majority of council members approved the deal, some of them wanted to ensure that the city did not offer programs that competed with existing private fitness centers.

“In my mind, indoor recreation is really different than a fitness center and I will continue to work on that in the future,” said Council Member Curt Soehl. “I think this is a good deal.”

Councilman Greg Neitzert, who lives near the Wellness Center on Ellis Road and has been a member, was one of two votes against the purchase.

“The pool is very small. It’s very small. It is a small part of a very large building,” he said. “If you’re looking for water, with all due respect, this is not what you would choose.”

Residents in the area can largely afford to purchase fitness center memberships if they’re looking for those types of experiences, he said, adding that he got “a collective yawn” from the neighborhood when residents heard about the potential deal .

“I think we’re just fixated on the fact that we’re going to get it at a fixed retail price,” he said.

Councilman Rich Merkouris compared the purchase to other investments in the city’s park system that are seen as complementing the resident experience in Sioux Falls.

“I believe this is an appropriate investment of taxpayer dollars because a park system is critical to a healthy community,” he said, adding that when it comes to determining the type of fitness program and its associated costs, “I trust that we as a body can maintain the line of good policy on that front.”

The city will not actually take possession of the building until the end of this year. Memberships will remain active for members under Sanford Wellness until there is an option to transfer them. Sanford plans to continue renting space in the building for its physical therapy program afterward and plans to open its wellness center at 4201 S. Oxbow Ave. maintain and modernize, including repairs to locker rooms and pools and other facility updates.

The city plans to vote on the rest of the plan for the pools — replacements at Frank Olson and Kuehn parks — in September.

City postpones vote on swimming pool projects for four months