About a decade ago, the Columbus Community Hospital (CCH) participated in a community health needs assessment where the study showed an increased rate of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
The data showed the three health risks were found in early ages for men, women and even in children in the Columbus area. To fight the wellness concerns, CCH’s first step was building the Columbus Wellness Center -- 3912 38th St. -- in 2015 as a location where residents could learn about healthy habits.
On Wednesday, CCH began its second step in helping the community's overall wellbeing by starting construction of the Columbus Fieldhouse in a lot just north of the Wellness Center. The hospital hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to commemorate the beginning of the project with about 50 people in attendance, which included CCH staff, city and state officials and various other organizational agency and community members.
CCH President/CEO Mike Hansen said with the past 18 months (or more) dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, he was happy the hospital could celebrate the start of the field house's construction.
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“It’s nice to move forward and do something and continue to build on what we’ve created over the last 12 years,” Hansen said. “It’s refreshing to start a new project and hopefully put the pandemic behind us.”
The field house – which will also be a sports complex – will include fitness, wellness, child care and rehabilitation services all under one roof. It will also be home to tennis courts, a football and soccer field, simulation activities like golf, volleyball and basketball courts and a suspended track for running and walking. The building will have both indoor and outdoor areas for competitive sports.
“It is a very comprehensive facility,” Hansen said. “It really will appeal to everyone in our community. … It’s really to enhance what we’re doing at the Wellness Center and add to it.”
Hansen said Columbus Fieldhouse is a tentative 18-month construction project, but the shortage of building materials - like steel for example - could delay the opening date.
CCH Board Chairman Jeff Gokie said he sees the field house as an extension of the hospital’s services.
“It’s going to be far-reaching for the health and welfare of our community outside of the hospital,” Gokie said. “Health really begins at home, it begins with exercising. It leads to the mental health and stability of our community and our families. We’re going to be building something here that I think will be amazing for the City of Columbus and the surrounding communities of Columbus. I think it will be something that everybody will be very, very proud of.”
Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce President Dawson Brunswick said the field house’s ability to host sporting activities will be a draw for others in the nearby areas to visit Columbus.
“They’re truly setting it up as a destination for Northeast Nebraska,” he said.
Having competitive sports -- a goal for the field house -- will help with tourism, Hansen said.
“It will really be great for our community in terms of having those people come in and utilize our hotels, gas stations, restaurants and other things like that,” Hansen said. “From a community perspective, it’s going to bring a lot of great things for our community.”
Hansen added the field house is part of Columbus Community Hospital’s mission to better residents’ overall health.
“Our ultimate goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of both physically and mentally of our community,” Hansen said. “We really think it enhances what we’ve been doing at the Wellness Center.”
Andrew Kiser is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.