April 18, 2022

Fitness Center Celebrates 10 Years

Schoolcraft Fitness Center

Free weights, weight machines, cardio machines and more are available

Like many of the members who work out there, the Schoolcraft College Fitness Center has grown stronger over the years. This year, the facility is celebrating 10 years of use and service to Schoolcraft College students, faculty and staff, as well as community members. From humble beginnings, it’s become a key gathering place and unifying location for the entire Schoolcraft College community.

Patty Donohue-Ebach, Director, Recreation Services, has been with the Fitness Center, which opened on January 31, 2012, basically since Day 1. Before her current role, Donohue-Ebach was an adjunct instructor at the College in the Physical Education Department (now Movement Science).

“The Fitness Center is a great place to work out and a great place to be,” she said. “We have a culture here that is welcoming to all.  We pride ourselves on being a place that is safe, fun and supportive for all of our members and guests.”

fitness center staff
Full-time staff of the Fitness Center are (left to right): Walt Stecko, Business Office Manager; Patty Donohue-Ebach, Director, Recreation Services; and Matt Cooper, Recreation Facilities Manager.

The Fitness Center is in the Physical Education building on campus and was built within a completely redesigned and updated former Auxiliary Gym, which was underutilized. The main workout floor is nearly 11,000 square feet and has over 110 pieces of cardio and weight equipment, providing an array of options.

“I give a lot of credit to Dr. Glenn Cerny, the College’s President, with having the vision that this space could serve a higher purpose for the campus community and beyond,” Donohue-Ebach said. “Fitness and recreation centers have existed on college campuses for a long time, but in the last 20 years or so they have really become a selling point for prospective students and a ‘must have’ amenity.”

How to join

The Schoolcraft Fitness Center is open to all credit students, faculty/staff, alumni and the community as well as a variety of other college partners and their employees.

Credit students, faculty and staff are free; other memberships range from $15/month to $25/month.

To join, come to the Fitness Center to fill out their membership enrollment form to start the process. For more information, call 734-462-4348 or email [email protected].

Fitness Center hours are:

  • Monday – Thursday: 7:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
  • Friday: 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Recreation opportunities

In addition to the workout facilities, a number of drop-in recreation programs are available through the Fitness Center along with access to the 1/7-mile track in the St. Joe’s Mercy Elite Sports Center. All Fitness Center members, Schoolcraft employees and members of the community may participate in any of these programs. 

Most are free for members of the Fitness Center or if you are a student or faculty/staff at the College. Otherwise, a small drop in fee is charged. The recreation programs include drop-in swim (run by Personal and Professional Learning, PPL), drop-in basketball, drop-in volleyball, pickleball, racquetball and wallyball.

To help provide members with a quick and easy way to access information about the Fitness Center, the team recently launched a new online information page, which also can be accessed through a QR code.

Donohue-Ebach’s full-time colleagues are Matt Cooper, Recreation Facilities Manager, responsible for day-to-day operations, among other responsibilities; and Walt Stecko, Business Office Manager, who manages financial and scheduling matters, again among other responsibilities.

“We’re also supported by great on-call staff, student employees and personal trainers,” Donohue-Ebach said. “We need that entire team to make all three of these facilities go!”

A look back

Jack Washka
Jack Washka joined Schoolcraft College in 1967.

Someone who predates Donohue-Ebach’s history with Schoolcraft College – by quite a bit, actually – is Jack Washka, Professor Emeritus. Professor Washka started at Schoolcraft College in 1967, which was just six years after the College was established and three years before the gym was built.

During those early days, physical education classes and athletic events and practices were held in a variety of off-campus locations, including the Northville Community Center, Livonia Stevenson High School and the now-closed Northville Regional Psychiatric Hospital to name just a few. The weight room was on the top level of the PE building and was rather cramped.

Professor Washka is pleased to see the progress made and that the College has a first-rate fitness facility.

“Certainly the Fitness Center helps develop cardiovascular fitness, strength conditioning and the activity has great benefits as a stress-reliever,” he said. “But something I’ve noticed recently, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, is that the Fitness Center provides a place to gather and get people together. It builds a great community in addition to building a healthy body.”

A look ahead

While 10 years is certainly a significant milestone for the Fitness Center, Donohue-Ebach is just as focused at looking ahead.

“We have some exciting changes coming to the workout floor in the next year,” she said. “We continue to grow and be responsive to customer and member needs in the area of fitness and exercise. We offer more choices now than ever before because people like to get fit in different ways. For some it’s playing basketball, volleyball or swimming or running or walking on an indoor track instead of on a treadmill. We want to provide all these amenities to continue to excel as a full-service fitness center.”

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