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Asheville's UNCA Health Center



4/30/2008 - Asheville's UNCA Health Center

ASHEVILLE ASHEVILLE UNC Asheville broke ground Tuesday on a $42 million project that the school hopes will make it a national leader in preventing chronic disease through healthy lifestyles.

When it is completed in 2010, the 133,500-square-foot N.C. Center for Health and Wellness will become home to the colleges health and wellness department, the schools fastest growing major that focuses on improving health through prevention.

I believe this facility and educational program will help improve the health and wellness of the many people of North Carolina and this region, said Janice Brumit, chairwoman of UNCAs board of trustees. This is for everyone in the region, not just our students. We want this to be the premier facility in the state, if not the country.

The center will include classrooms, laboratories, cardiovascular and strength training rooms, an indoor track, studios for dance, aerobics and yoga, a café featuring local foods and a teaching kitchen.

It will also include the Kimmel Arena, which will serve as a basketball arena and convocation center for commencement, health symposiums and speaking events.

The new building will enable students and faculty to expand their research in childrens health, work site wellness and senior wellness, helping to foster healthy lifestyles in Western North Carolina and creating a national model for health and wellness, said Keith Ray, chair of schools health and wellness department.

Healthy living in America remains the difficult choice, he said. We intend to work with the community to make healthy living the easy choice.

The center is being funded primarily through a $35 million appropriation from the N.C. General Assembly.

This was the most rewarding thing I managed to help get accomplished, said former state Rep. Wilma Sherill. It has such wide-reaching tentacles.

Speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives Rep. Joe Hackney said the facility will not only make people healthier and reduce health care costs, but it could also bring many economic benefits to the state and the region.

It marks WNC as a center of health and wellness and health and wellness education and the training of professionals in those areas, he said.

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