Small industrial city diversifies its economy with urbanism

ELKHART, INDIANA, IS IMPLEMENTING PLANS TO ATTRACT YOUNG, TALENTED, WORKERS TO START BUSINESSES AND BOOST THE ECONOMY.

ROBERT STEUTEVILLE JUN. 27, 2019
Robert Steuteville is editor of Public Square: A CNU Journal and senior communications adviser for the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Elkhart, a city of 52,000 in north Indiana, is not a place that is well known nationally for its urban revival. Yet Elkhart adopted a plan for a $400 million, 90-acre “River District” across from downtown. The district offers a setting for substantial new urbanist development, including a thousand housing units, 170,000 square feet of retail space, 110,000 square feet of office space, and a hotel—all in a qualified Opportunity Zone. A project like this in a small city in a tiny metro area may seem implausible, but it is progressing rapidly. 

In June, the city broke ground on a $40 million mixed-use neighborhood center in the River District, including a grocery store and 172 apartments, enabled by a development loan approved by Elkhart Common Council earlier in the year. Construction is also underway or complete for an aquatic/fitness center and more apartments in mixed-use buildings. The first phase of district-wide streetscape improvements are complete. Planning for the project is by Speck & Associates and Stantec Urban Places.

Intended as a walkable main street, the district's primary thoroughfare was a four-lane arterial. A road diet reduced the number of lanes to three, and the city completed other street improvements. Mixed-use buildings are planned to line the thoroughfare.

Recognizing the vulnerability of an economy closely tied to Recreational Vehicle manufacturing, Elkhart set out to diversify. Public- and private-sector leaders agreed that a vibrant, walkable downtown neighborhood could attract knowledge workers, makers, artists, and entrepreneurs—key to pursuing economic diversity. With $30 million of public money, a new public/private partnership began to lure developers, a local supermarket, and other projects—including a civic aquatic/fitness center—to a peninsula adjacent to Elkhart’s historic downtown. Low-density strip malls, auto-repair businesses, and brownfield parcels defined the area, dubbed the River District.

Significant problems emerged as the first projects entered the pipeline—they were designed according to a conventional suburban model that threatened to undercut the goals of the plan. The city hired a new urbanist team to figure out how to establish a walkable urban character to the area. Here’s how the stumbling-block projects were redirected:

  • The parking for a new aquatic/fitness center was screened from view with new mixed-use buildings built to the sidewalk, framing a new main street leading to the center’s front door.

  • A shared-parking strategy allowed the elimination of an unnecessary parking garage slated to be built at the heart of the district. The City agreed to divert its $10 million budget to plazas, squares, and public parks in the district.

  • Supermarket parking was moved to the interior of a building-lined block, and the streetscape was reconfigured to turn the store’s main entrance to a public square lined by additional mixed-use buildings.

  • Proposed suburban-style riverside apartments were replaced with street-lining buildings, creating a riverfront drive that makes the river bank public and brings its value deep within the community

  • The front parking lot in a second apartment complex was re-assigned to serve as part of landscaped boulevard, without losing parking capacity within the project. The move turned drive-only suburbanism into walkable urbanism while giving ground-floor apartments individual entrances.

The site plan reorganized multiple disconnected projects using new urbanist principles.

New urbanist principles guided the plan in other ways:

  • With a river on three sides, the district had clear edges but no center or strong connection to downtown. The plan introduced a small urban plaza and hotel at the center to create a “heart” for the neighborhood and redesigned key walking routes to downtown to make them more prominent and pedestrian-friendly.

  • The district’s primary thoroughfare, intended as a walkable main street, looked and felt like a 4-lane regional arterial. The plan prescribed a 4-to-3-lane road diet, Phase 1 of which has been built.

  • A system of bikeways and multiuse paths tied the district more closely to other neighborhoods, creating an integrated hub within the regional bike network.

  • The plan brought an underused park to life by lining it with townhouses rather than parking lots and driveways.

The city’s fortunes have risen and fallen with the health of the RV industry. Diversification is needed, but attracting new industry is a strategy that has failed time and time again in rust-belt cities. Elkhart’s strategy is to create the kind of environment that will attract talented workers who can then start businesses or help them to thrive. The River District—which includes elements of suburban retrofit, brownfield reuse, and downtown-adjacent development—is the linchpin of that strategy.

>>READ FULL ARTICLE.

June Project Update

June Project Update

We provide project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

JUNE 2019

BUILDING

  • Completed ceramic tile in Unit C pool

  • Completed floor tile in Unit H and started on grand stair tile

  • Completed ceramic tile Unit F & G corridors

  • Completed installation of floor in fitness/therapy pools

  • Completed cleaning and started prep for pool liner in Unit C pool

  • Completed aluminum door frame installation on interior and exterior of buildings

  • Completed installation of metal siding panels around the building

  • Continued to install window and door frames with glazing on interior and exterior of building

  • Completed majority of lighting and devices in all areas

  • Completed majority of finish painting in all areas

  • Completed majority of ceiling grid and tile installation

  • Completed majority of drywall finishing in unit G

  • Installed striping and sleeve anchors on gym floors

  • Continued to finish casework installation thru out building

  • Completed trimming out and setting fixtures in all locker rooms

  • Continued site improvements on all sides of building

  • Continued elevator installation

  • Started installation of TRX room wood flooring

  • Completed rubber flooring in Unit E fitness for weights and exercise rooms

May Project Update

May Project Update

We provide project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

MAY 2019

BUILDING

  • Completed majority of tile mud set in Unit C pool

  • Completed all ceramic tile on fitness pool deck

  • Completed final painting of all remaining walls in fitness/therapy pools

  • Continued aluminum door frame installation, interior and exterior

  • Continued installation of metal siding panels around the building

  • Continued to install window frames and glazing on interior and exterior of building

  • Installed lighting and devices in all areas with finished ceilings

  • Started finish painting in all areas completed

  • Continued installing ceiling grid and tile in all areas

  • Continued finishing drywall in Units F, G, & H

  • Followed drywall finishing with painting and trim thru out building

  • Completed installation of racquetball courts

  • Installed gymnasium flooring, sanded, and sealed wood ready fro striping

  • Continued casework installation thru out building

  • Completed toilet and shower partition installation

  • Continued trimming out and setting fixtures in all locker rooms and Unit E

  • Continued site improvements on the building’s north and east sides

  • Completed EIFS on south elevation at Unit G

  • Started elevator installation

  • Completed exterior CMU screen wall and column enclosures in Unit C

  • Completed LVT and carpet installation in Unit E

Centier Bank Donates $25,000 to Elkhart Health and Aquatics

Centier Bank Donates $25,000 to Elkhart Health and Aquatics

ELKHART, Ind. – Centier Bank is donating $25,000 to support the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and Beacon Health System’s joint project to build a premier health, fitness, aquatics and community center in Downtown Elkhart.

The donation will support the development of the 6,000 square-foot community center, which will include a public atrium, meeting spaces, gymnasium, library and an outdoor patio overlooking the river.

“The support from the Centier Bank will help bring the Elkhart community and surrounding areas together for a dedicated community space,” said Pete McCown, President of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. “Opening in July 2019, the complex will be one of the largest facilities in the country to offer aquatics, fitness and community engagement.”

“Centier Bank is committed to the Elkhart community.  With three locations in Elkhart, with our downtown branch set to open this summer at the intersection of Main St. and Jackson Blvd., we are excited to be a part of this project supporting fun and engagement in the heart of the community,” said Len Amat, Market President for Centier Bank. “As a community partner, Centier Bank is proud to support initiatives like this, where we can see families and communities come together in a positive setting. We take pride in growing as our communities grow and prosper.”

The approximately 170,000 building will be home to Beacon Health and Fitness, the Elkhart Community Schools swimming and aquatic programs, Elkhart United Aquatics, Bethel College and other local and regional swim competitions. The plan is to host championship events in swimming and regional and state high school competitions. Next spring, the facility is planning to host a Speedo invitational and an Illinois all-age competition.  Families and young children will be able to use the facility for recreational swimming, fitness, sports and wellness classes.

“In addition to providing a vital community gathering space, this complex will have a measurable economic impact on the City of Elkhart and the region,” said Elkhart Mayor Timothy Neese. “As progress continues on the River District Revitalization Project, the uniqueness of this multi-purpose center will help to attract new residents and visitors to the area and will be a catalyst for future vibrancy and growth.”

Elkhart Health and Aquatics will be open to the public in July 2019. Discounted memberships for Beacon Health and Fitness can be purchased up to the July opening either online at www.ElkhartHealthandAquatics.org, by phone at 574.389.5580, or at the onsite membership trailer located at 200 East Jackson Blvd. in Elkhart.

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About Elkhart Health, Fitness and Aquatics Inc.:

Elkhart Health Fitness and Aquatics Inc. (EHFA) is based in Elkhart, and its leadership consists of a partnership between The Community Foundation of Elkhart County and Beacon Health System to own and operate Elkhart Health and Aquatics. This 170,000 square-foot facility includes one of the largest aquatics facilities in the country, along with a Beacon Health & Fitness and central community gathering space serving Elkhart and its surrounding communities. Visit www.elkhartcenter.com

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About Centier Bank:

Centier is the largest, private, family-owned bank in Indiana. Since 1895, Centier has stood firmly behind the "Not For Sale" commitment, pledging to associates, clients, and the communities served that it will continue to preserve independent hometown banking in Indiana. Centier has 61 retail locations, serving in 11 counties with over 900 associates.

Since 2007, Centier Bank has been among the top “Best Places to Work in Indiana” by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and received national attention by American Banker magazine as the Top Best Bank to Work For in Indiana and the top ten in the U.S.A. For more information on Centier products and services, visit www.centier.com.

Partner Profile: Elkhart Community Schools save estimated $7 million over 20 years with aquatics center partnership 

Partner Profile: Elkhart Community Schools save estimated $7 million over 20 years with aquatics center partnership 

Over two years ago, the Elkhart Community Schools had a challenge of how to transition out its two failing 40-year-old pools that were incrementally costing more to repair and operate. The current pools surpassed their natural life span and building new pools was seemingly the only solution. Building two new pools would be $16 million ($8 million per pool) and would have required a bond issuance. The annual operating costs for the pools were $250,000 per year. With the bond and long-term financial considerations, the total investment for new pools required the schools and community tax payers $21 million over 20 years. 

In its early planning stages, the “Elkhart Health Fitness and Aquatics Center” project team was formulating their strategy. In the midst of their process, a power surge forced the prior local YMCA, then called The Center, to close its doors due to over $50,000 of damage requiring compounded fundraising efforts for its failing building with multiple functional and structural issues.  As the only programmed community pool, this closure coupled with the school’s pools challenge, resulted in the reality that the Elkhart community could potentially not have a community pool for aquatics programming and teaching kids how to swim. 

The scope of the aquatics center planning team’s vision was to create an aquatics center that would be a noted attraction for local and regional amateur swimming competitions. The desire was to create a reason for people to visit Elkhart for competitive swimming and to provide the community a daily resource for swimming, fitness and gathering at the downtown River Walk trail connections.  

Learning about the school’s pools challenge provided an opportunity to consolidate resources and leverage the costly proposition that community aquatics centers face to operate. Pools are expensive and they learned through other communities that the business model only makes sense if multiple uses and revenues are leveraged to fully utilize pool capacity at all operating hours and days of the week.  Successful business models achieve this through partnerships typically involving schools, healthcare and fitness providers and community centers.    

Discussions with Beacon Health and Fitness were engaged to explore how to leverage pools for daily fitness, aquatics and therapy needs. Together the aquatics planning team and aquatics experts worked with the school’s athletic directors, Beacon Health and Fitness, and The Center’s directors to program all aspects of the potential pool and wellness complex. 

As a result, the $60 million aquatics center project includes an additional $10 million endowment raised to construct and maintain the pool for the years to come. Instead of the schools investing $18 million in capital expenditures to build new pools, the school contributed $6 million for upfront capital expenditures. Additionally, their 20-year lease agreement is $400,000 per year and this amount will be reviewed and adjusted annually based on actual use. Over 20 years, the school’s total investment is estimated to be $14 million versus $21 million if they built and maintained their own pools. With the school’s contribution, the overall project was able to meet the requirements of 20% public funding to receive an additional $9 million in state funding from the Regional Cities Initiative.

The Memorial High School pool has already been repurposed as a band rehearsal space per its current $10 million capital plan. The Central pool will be mothballed and repurposed at a later date. Additionally, plans are in progress for either all third or fifth graders to learn how to swim at the new aquatics center.  Years ago, this program was removed from the schools. 

As a result of this public-private partnership, the schools have saved millions while the private sector orchestrated raising all funds required to provide the community with a state-of-the-art facility that will attract residents, visitors and investors for future economic development growth opportunities in the River District as part of the City of Elkhart’s downtown revitalization efforts.

For more information, visit www.elkhartcenter.com, www.elkhartriverdistrict.com and www.elkhart2040.com.

April Project Update

April Project Update

We provide project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

APRIL 2019

BUILDING

  • Continued to tie-in MEP overhead rough-ins in all areas

  • Poured competition pool deck and began gutter tile

  • Finished remaining walls in fitness pool areas

  • Commenced aluminum door frame installation

  • Continued installation of Z Girts, flashing, and metal panels around the building

  • Completed roof membrane in all areas

  • Continued to install window frames and glazing around building

  • Installed lighting in all areas with finished ceilings

  • Continued painting in all areas except unit H

  • Installed grid ceiling in Units A, D and E

  • Received racquetball courts and began installation

  • Received gymnasium flooring

  • Installed grand stair

  • Began casework installation

  • Began toilet and shower partition installation

  • Energized permanent electric switchgear

  • Began mechanical equipment start up

  • Started site improvements on the building’s North and East sides

  • Started EIFS on south elevation

March Project Update

March Project Update

We provide project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

MARCH 2019

BUILDING

  • Continued to tie-in MEP overhead rough-ins in all areas

  • Poured pool deck of fitness and therapy pools and

  • Backfilled competition pool walls

  • Completed installation of gutter on perimeter of competition pool

  • Completed hanging drywall, mud, and taped drywall in Units A, D, E, F, G & H on both floors

  • Continued installation of Z Girts, flashing, and metal panels around the building

  • Continued to install window frames and glazing around building

  • Installed lighting in Unit E fitness area, office area, Unit D locker rooms, and under track

  • Roughed in overhead lighting conduit for Units G & H

  • Completed painting of exposed steel under track

  • Continued to paint primer and 1st coat of finish on Unit E office area, and Units A & D 2nd floor

  • Completed installation of tile sand bed on Unit A pool deck and started tile installation

  • Completed framing and hanging drywall on soffits around the track, observation deck, and in front of racquetball courts

  • Installed Unit D135 stair, Unit F emergency stair, and handrail on straights of track

  • Completed setting all roof top equipment

February Project Update

February Project Update

We provide project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

FEBRUARY 2019

BUILDING

  • Continued to tie-in MEP overhead rough-ins in all areas

  • Poured pool deck of fitness and therapy pools and around hot tub

  • Set all wall panels on competition pool and aligned walls

  • Started installation of gutter on perimeter of competition pool

  • Completed remaining CMU walls in locker and laundry rooms

  • Continued to frame interior metal stud bulkheads in Units E, F, and G

  • Completed hanging drywall, mud, and taped drywall in Unit E

  • Continued installation of Z Girts, flashing, and siding around the building

  • Continued to install window frames and glazing around building

  • Continued spray foam insulation around building

  • Completed painting of exposed ceilings in units E, F, and G

  • Started installation of tile sand bed on unit A swimming pool deck

  • Installed both Unit F & H skylights

  • Continued framing and hanging drywall on soffits around the track

  • Installed structural members to support toilet partitions in Unit locker rooms

  • Installed basketball goals and divider curtain in Unit F & G gymnasium

Beacon, The Elkhart Aquatics Center anchor Elkhart River District

Collaboration will create health, jobs and community connections

 ELKHART – Construction of the $59 million Elkhart Health & Aquatics is expected to be completed in June, when Beacon Health & Fitness and the aquatics center will open inside a new complex that anchors the Elkhart River District.

 The two story, 170,000-square-foot facility, which will be operated by Beacon Health System, will feature a 66 x 25-meter competition pool and diving well, Beacon Health & Fitness, and other health, fitness and common spaces.  

Beacon Health & Fitness will offer cardiovascular equipment, strength training, squash and racquetball courts, fitness studios for yoga, Pilates, TRX training and aerobics, therapy and lap pools, suspended running track, gymnasium and outdoor fitness areas. Similar to the South Bend and Granger locations, this location will bring Elkhart a unique medical fitness model that includes onsite physical therapy, sports medicine and other services.  

The aquatics center includes an Olympic-size pool with diving well that contains more than 1 million gallons of water, 3- and 5-meter diving platforms, and movable bulkheads for long or short course events. The natatorium will provide seating for 1,200 spectators. The entire complex has been uniquely designed to not only draw athletes and their families for training and competitions, but also community residents across the region. 

“By pairing world class fitness and aquatics facilities with clinical services, we will enhance the quality of life for those in the Greater Elkhart area,” said Alan Loyd, Beacon Health & Fitness executive director. “We’re thrilled to watch the complex take shape after years of collaboration. It will be a source of pride for the region.” 

Children and families will be able to use Elkhart Health & Aquatics for open and recreational swimming, basketball and other sports, as well as community programs and classes. Located on East Jackson Boulevard near the St. Joseph and Elkhart rivers, the complex will generate as many as 100 part-time and several full-time positions. 

Memberships for Beacon Health & Fitness and the aquatics center are now available by visiting www.ElkhartHealthAndAquatics.org or by stopping by the trailer in front of Elkhart Health & Aquatics. Call 574.389.5580 for more information. The project is a collaboration of Beacon Health System, Elkhart Community Schools and the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, with additional contributions from the City of Elkhart, the Regional Cities Initiative and the generosity of the local community.

January Project Update

January Project Update

We provide project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

JANUARY 2019

BUILDING

  • Continued to rough-in MEP in walls of Units D and H

  • Poured remaining floor slab on deck in Unit F and G track level

  • Finished excavating, forming, installed rebar, and poured shallow end of competition pool

  • Continued to trim out Unit A fitness and therapy pools

  • Laid CMU exterior wall of Unit B and 95% of all CMU walls inside Unit B

  • Continued to frame interior metal stud bulkheads in Units E, F, G, and H

  • Started hanging dry wall in Unit E and topped out walls in Unit H

  • Continued to install window frames and glazing around building

  • Continued to spray foam insulation around building

  • Started painting overhead decks in Unit E, F, and G

  • Started ceramic tile in restrooms

  • Installed roof membrane on Unit G stair tower and F & G radius entry canopies

December Project Update

December Project Update

We provide project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

DECEMBER 2018

BUILDING

  • Continued to rough-in MEP in walls of Units D, E, and H

  • Poured remaining floor slab on Unit F, G, and B mechanical rooms

  • Finished forming, installed rebar, and poured bottom slab for competition pool at 8"‘-1” depth

  • Completed laying brick veneer on north wall of Unit H over doors

  • Continued to lay CMU interior walls

  • Continued to frame interior metal stud walls in Units D, E, F, G, and H

  • Continued installation of Z Girts, flashing, and siding around the building

  • Continued to install window frames and glazing around building

  • Continued spray foam insulation around building

  • Removed asphalt and sidewalk from existing Clark Street and installed subgrade up to design elevation

  • Installed last remaining storm sewer lateral to pond on west side of building

AEP Foundation Donates $300,000 to Health, Aquatics & Community Center for Elkhart

AEP Foundation Donates $300,000 to Health, Aquatics & Community Center for Elkhart

ELKHART, Ind. – Indiana Michigan Power, on behalf of the AEP Foundation, is donating $300,000 to support the Community Foundation of Elkhart County and Beacon Health System’s project to build a premiere health, fitness, aquatics and community center at the former YMCA in Elkhart.

The grant money will specifically go to the development of the 6,000 square-foot community center, which will include a public atrium, meeting spaces, gymnasium, library and an outdoor patio overlooking the river.

“The support from the AEP Foundation and Indiana Michigan Power will help bring the Elkhart community and surrounding areas together for a dedicated community space,” said Pete McCown, President of the Community Foundation of Elkhart County. “Overall, the complex will be one of the largest facilities in the country to offer aquatics, fitness and community engagement.”

“This grant will give local businesses, schools and non-profit organizations a state-of-the-art space to serve the community of Elkhart,” said Toby Thomas, I&M President and Chief Operating Officer. “As the hometown energy provider, I&M has a boundless reach in the community and this project exemplifies that because it will attract workers, address housing needs and improve the overall health of families in this region.”

The approximately 170,000 building will be home to Beacon Health and Fitness, the Elkhart Community Schools swimming and aquatic programs, Elkhart United Aquatics, Bethel College and other local and regional swim competitions. The plan is to host future amateur championships in swimming and regional and state high school competitions. Families and young children will be able to use the facility for recreational swimming and sports like basketball and volleyball.

“In addition to providing a vital community gathering space, this complex will have a measurable economic impact on the City of Elkhart and the region,” said Elkhart Mayor Timothy Neese. “As progress continues on the River District Revitalization Project, the uniqueness of this multi-purpose center will help to attract new residents and visitors to the area and will be a catalyst for future vibrancy and growth.”

The Health, Aquatics and Community Center is expected to be open to the public in June 2019.

>>View exclusive story on WNDU 16


About Elkhart Health, Fitness and Aquatics Inc.:

Elkhart Health Fitness and Aquatics (EHFA) is based in Elkhart, and its leadership consists of a partnership between The Community Foundation of Elkhart County and Beacon Health System to own and operate The Elkhart Health and Aquatics Center. This 170,000 square-foot facility includes one of the largest aquatics facility in the country, along with a Beacon Health and Fitness Center and central community gathering space serving Elkhart and its surrounding communities. Visit www.elkhartcenter.com

About AEP Foundation:

The AEP Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its utility operating units, including Indiana Michigan Power. The Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering, math and the environment and by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger.

About Indiana Michigan Power:

Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its 2,450 employees serve more than 593,900 customers. More than half of its generation is emission-free, including 2,278 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan, 450 MW of purchased wind generation from Indiana, 22 MW of hydro generation in both states and approximately 15 MW of large-scale solar generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 2,600 MW of coal-fueled generation in Indiana.

American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to our customers. AEP’s more than 17,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 224,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 33,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 4,200 megawatts of renewable energy. AEP’s family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP also owns AEP Energy, AEP Energy Partners, AEP OnSite Partners and AEP Renewables, which provide innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide.

October Project Update

October Project Update

We provide project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

OCTOBER 2018

Infrastructure

  • Added fill to grade on northeast corner of site for underground power

  • Connected storm and sanitary lines around building

  • Set transformer on pad and installed underground wire from AEP pedestal to transformer

Building

  • Continued to rough-in MEP in walls

  • Finished majority of fitness pool waterproofing and poured steps

  • Poured base of therapy pool and started erecting walls within pool

  • Completed metal stud walls and sheathing for stair towers

  • Framed interior metal stud walls

  • Continued to spray fireproofing

  • Completed rough-in of roofing

  • Completed majority of fire protection piping

  • Continued installation of siding Z Girts and flashing around building

  • Continued spray foam insulation around building

  • Completed painting for pool ceilings

  • Continued brick veneer around units on exterior walls

Bethel College's new aquatics program will venue at the Elkhart Health and Aquatics Center

Bethel College's new aquatics program will venue at the Elkhart Health and Aquatics Center

Athletic Director Tom Visker is pleased to announce that Bethel College will offer men's and women's swimming and diving as varsity programs for the 2018-19 academic year. The addition of swimming & diving, as well as bowling announced earlier this summer, will bring Bethel to a total of 23 varsity programs competing in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and 29 intercollegiate teams total. The Pilots most recently added competitive cheer during the 2016-17 academic year.

"Northern Indiana and the surrounding states have many great swimming and diving programs in the high school and club circuit. We are excited to be one of only a few small colleges offering swimming and diving programs in this region," noted Visker. "I'm confident we can build a competitive program while providing many more student-athletes a quality, faith-based education."

The Pilots will join Indiana Wesleyan as the only Crossroads League schools to offer the NAIA championship-sponsored sport. The swimming & diving program will make their home venue the brand-new Elkhart Health, Fitness, Aquatics, and Community Center in Elkhart and will begin recruiting and filling the roster immediately before officially competing in 2019-20. Student-athletes interested in competing in men's and women's swimming & diving at Bethel can complete and submit a prospective student-athlete questionnaire.

Additionally, Visker has tabbed Deb Thompson as the first head coach in men's and women's swimming & diving program history at Bethel.

Thompson comes to the Pilots with 27 years of combined experience coaching swimming & diving, including 16 years at the collegiate level with stops at Oberlin (Ohio), Washington & Lee (Va.), Drexel (Pa.), SUNY Geneseo (N.Y.), and UW Whitewater (Wis.). Thompson's team won 11 conference titles at SUNY Geneseo. She coached a total of 50 All-Americans and was named a Coach of the Year six times.

For the past 11 years, Thompson has held the position of the Physical Education and Health Teacher at St. Joseph High School in South Bend, where she was also the Department Chair. Thompson has also served as an Adjunct Professor in the Kinesiology Department at Bethel since 2011.

Read the full release at BethelCollegePilots.com.

July Progress Report

July Progress Report

We provide project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

JULY 2018

Community Commons

  • Detailed structural steel in radius entry
  • Installed decking
  • Continued underground  plumbing
  • Continuing to pour diamonds
  • Continued canopy framing

Fitness and Therapy Center

  • Installed decking on gyms, suspended track
  • Started installation of stairs from track level to concourse level
  • Laid CMU walls in locker rooms and second floor bearing wall
  • Laid CMU walls on track level to underside of deck
  • Continued underground  plumbing
  • Poured second floor slab on deck on partial track and west end around restrooms, while continuing to pour diamonds
  • Continued to rough-in overhead MEP in lockers
  • Poured concrete in whirlpool
  • Installation of exterior metal stud framing
  • Continued spray fireproofing on exterior wall beams of pools, stair tower
  • Started roofing

Aquatics Center

  • Continuing to pour diamonds
  • Continued to rough-in overhead MEP in lockers
  • Continued pool piping
  • Continued spray fireproofing on exterior wall beams of pools, laundry area
  • Completed 95% installation of roofing

General

  • Started installation of siding Z Girts around the building
  • Installed storm drain outlet into Elkhart River

May Progress Report

May Progress Report

Quarterly, we will be providing project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

APRIL - MAY 2018

  • Completed steel, began underground plumbing and electrical and began exterior metal stud framing for Beacon fitness and physical therapy units 
  • Completed most of steel detailing in community center
  • Erected and detailed steel in gymnasium and completed masonry on south end of gymnasium
  • Completed masonry on east, west, and north exterior walls and completed underground plumbing and electrical of teaching/fitness and therapy pools. Began pool piping and concrete for whirlpool.
  • Completed masonry on east wall and partial north wall of the main pool
  • Completed installation of underground plumbing and electrical and began spray fireproofing in locker rooms
  • Prepped, formed, and poured recess slab on grade in locker rooms
  • Started overhead rough-in of main pool
  • Started underground pool piping in main pool and storage areas

March Progress Report

March Progress Report

Quarterly, we will be providing project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

 
ProjectFloorplan.png

JANUARY - MARCH 2018

  • Erosion control measures in place
  • Continued erection of structural steel at the locker room area upper elevations
  • Completed erection of west stair tower and fitness pool
  • Erected stadia bleacher structural steel
  • Laid CMU wall at track level for precast at concourse
  • Started CMU wall between unit A and C
  • Erected precast planks at concourse level
  • Roughed-in temporary power to unit D locker room area
  • Completed erection of structural steel and epic decking on competition pool
  • Erected precast stadia risers in unit C
  • Laid CMU on east and north exterior walls of teaching/training pools
  • Finished CMU wall between unit A and C to underside of deck
  • Erected precast planks at rook level on unit D
  • Roughed-in underground conduit for unit D for both floors
  • Continued to install underground plumbing, sanitary and storm piping in unit D
  • Received pool equipment and materials, inventories and stored in container
  • Erected unit E structural steel and started detailing
  • Continued masonry on east and north exterior walls of teaching and training pools
  • Started masonry on north and west walls of the main pool
  • Began prepping for slab on grade in unit D

December Progress Report

December Progress Report

Quarterly, we will be providing project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2017

  • Value engineering effort continue with $500,000 remaining to achieve budget
  • The fireplace is potentially looking to be eliminated 
  • The diving platform foundation set
  • Myrtha pool being fabricated to be delivered late January
  • Steel delivery moving forward
  • Team will review if expediting schedule makes sense
  • The two clinical groups are reworking their areas for design documents and construction docs. Sports medicine for bariatric is switching.  The density is the same.  Footprint and envelope doesn't change.  The child care to administration is closer and better.
  • Working on grants for AEP, Mutual Bank, City, and PNC
  • Looking to have an on-site fundraiser in the Spring
  • Naming for the building is underway.  The first public survey is complete.  The next panel will be expanded beyond the immediate geographical focus. 

October Progress Report

October Progress Report

Quarterly, we will be providing project updates on our blog for community members, donors, and partners to learn about how the project is progressing. These updates will be a result of meeting outcomes surrounding building planning, fundraising, communications and programming initiatives for the new facility.  Project details and economic impact details can always be found here: https://elkhartcenter.com/ and click here to make inquiries about the project.

OCTOBER 2017 UPDATE

  • The value engineering efforts continue to find $1MM in project savings.  
  • We will be locking in masonry and those vendors who are in immediate need to keep moving forward.
  • Physical therapy and sports medicine functions will be the medical fitness space focus. Beacon is covering the design costs.  
  • Curbs are in for the parking lot.  Prep for asphalt is underway.
  • Steel is scheduled to start on Wednesday 10/25/17.  Main structural steel will take 2-3 months for topping off.
  • Naming committee for the facility is moving forward with survey.
  • Regional Cities documentation is sent for the first appropriation.
  • Rotary and service organization events are underway at the Lerner Theater.  
  • In the overall fundraising effort, $1.4MM remains to be raised of the $69.5MM.