PROGRESS NOVEMBER 2021: Voorhees opens new fitness center |

DENMARK — Voorhees College officially opened its new fitness center during a ribbon-cutting and ribbon-cutting ceremony held in November at the Leonard E. Dawson Health and Human Resources Center.

Voorhees faculty, staff and non-athlete students will have access to the new 800 square foot facility, which includes weight equipment and other amenities. Community members will be able to use the facility in the spring, in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“As part of the next level of excellence, health and well-being is a priority and we want to ensure that the center is accessible to faculty, staff and students. I would like to thank the Episcopal Church for the funding and to share my appreciation to the city of Denmark in our partnership,” said Ronnie Hopkins, president of Voorhees College.

Charlene Johnson, Vice President of Student Affairs and Director of Athletics, took the lead in developing the center. Calvin Williams, assistant professor and coordinator of the sports management program, and students worked with Johnson to make the center a reality.

“We are thrilled to take it to the next level of excellence as we open our new fitness center. A grant from the Episcopal Church and the college has purchased state-of-the-art exercise equipment and renovate an existing space,” Johnson said.

Gerald Wright, Mayor of Denmark, was also present for the ceremony. “The history of Voorhees College and Denmark is parallel. We have a supportive relationship with each other. It’s always a good thing to be included,” he said.

Other participants in the program included Joshua Gayle, president of the Voorhees Student Government Association, and Bennie James, professor of religion, who delivered the words of blessing and dedication just before the ribbon cutting.

“Fitness and well-being play an important role in a student’s life. I’m sure by early spring this facility will be standing room only,” Gayle said.

“Our goal is to develop students holistically by strengthening mind, spirit and body. Spirit, through the academic and mental health services we offer, spirit through our faith in Christ and in the Episcopal Church (chapel services), and body through fitness,” Williams said.

Past and current students of sports facility management and design contributed to the project. Their input, ideas and creativity were showcased through weekly talks and assignments that are visible in the fitness center, according to Williams.

“The establishment of the fitness center will give faculty, staff and students the opportunity to exercise on campus. I believe it will be more beneficial for those who use it,” said Zay’Aunna Beard, a senior sports management student.

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