WHEELING – Wheeling Hospital’s Howard Long Wellness Center (HLWC) is in the midst of celebrating 25 of service.

The facility turned 25 years old Sept. 1. To celebrate, HLWC is honoring 90 members who have actively maintained their membership for all 25 years by providing them with special gifts. Each member receives a personalized exercise duffle bag, a retro T-shirt designed to replicate the original HLWC shirt design, and a special guest privilege card. The card allows these 90 ambassadors of the center to bring a guest, free of charge, to the HLWC for the duration of their membership.

Further celebration activities include a lobby display of pictures of the grand opening and early years, as well as a "25 Questions for 25 Years" trivia contest, with the opportunity to win a $25 gift certificate to any wellness center service. A winner with the correct answer is randomly chosen each day for the first 25 days of September.

In addition, HLWC is offering a 25-cent joining fee for any membership sold during the entire month of September.

Over these past 25 years, the wellness center has had more than 35,000 people become members. Currently, it averages well over 300,000 visits annually, putting the total visits since it opened to more than 6 million.

Since its beginning, HLWC has seen steady growth and expanded services to meet the wellness goals of its members. Significant renovations and expansions have included:

1997 - Expansion of the free weight strength training area.

1998 - Addition of bike spinning group exercise program.

1999 - Introduction of yoga and Tai Chi classes.

2004 - Renovation to create a CardioVision area with 21 personal TV viewing screens.

2007 - Facility addition to house the Junior Wellness Center for children ages 6-12 years.

2011 - Major renovation of lobby and improvements to second floor lighting and flooring.

2015 - Creation of a dedicated space for the newly established CrossFit Program.

2017 - Renovation of the lobby to create a space for Hydro-Massage services.

"All of this would not have been possible without the significant generosity of Howard Long," said Joe Slavik, HLWC director. "His vision and financial support have been paramount to the success of the wellness center.

"Additionally, the financial support from local corporations and individuals, particularly those associated with Wheeling Hospital, has been invaluable to the quality of the wellness center facility and its amenities."

Slavik said the ongoing support from Wheeling Hospital’s administration has enabled the Howard Long Wellness Center to maintain and enhance the wellness services provided to the local area and to achieve its objective of improving the health and fitness of the Wheeling community.

"And we certainly can’t forget all the members we have and have had throughout these 25 years," Slavik said. "It has been their patronage, first and foremost, that has allowed us to continue to provide these much needed services to our community."

The 70,000-square-foot center offers various exercise options including cardiovascular center (a variety of bikes, treadmills, elliptical trainers, rowers, Arc Trainers and Stairmasters), variable resistance equipment, indoor walking/running track, free weights, two racquetball courts, and a full size basketball court.

The Wellness Center is also equipped with a beautiful aquatic center that includes an indoor swimming pool and a Jacuzzi. Several water classes are offered daily for the novice and advanced levels. Boot Camp, Body Burn, Zumba, spinning, yoga and Tai Chi classes also are provided.

In total, HLWC offers more than 70 group exercise classes weekly.

Wheeling Hospital’s cardiac and pulmonary rehab treatment programs are provided at the center. The center also offers Family and Friends CPR training, cholesterol and blood pressure screenings. In addition, the very popular Safety Town takes place every summer at the center.

Some of the additional services include personal training, registered dietitian, pro shop and tips on healthy eating, as well as health and educational opportunities. The center offers various activities for area residents of all ages.

For more information on the Howard Long Wellness Center and its services, call 304-242-WELL (9355).