October 14, 2012

New Wellness Center Open for Students, Faculty

The Express-Star

— CHICKASHA – Students and faculty turned out in droves this week to enjoy a new campus wellness center named for the late Pat Nobbs, a visionary health entrepreneur and 1930s alumna.

Designed to improve and maintain health for all students and employees, the new fitness area, which occupies 2,200 square feet in the Student Center, is the direct result of a $520,000 estate gift from Vestal “Pat” Litton Nobbs.

The new center is for more than exercise: it provides students with options for improving their health and wellness and houses the Health Services office.

According to Health Services Director Chris Basco, careful planning went into the layout of the center to maximize health benefits for students.

“Not every student wants to be an athlete or to train like one,” Basco said. “They just want to improve their general health.  So we’ve focused about 70 percent of the space on cardiovascular exercise. It’s a greater need for the general population of students. And this space is for absolutely all students, not just athletes or housing occupants.”

The main space features treadmills, stationary bikes, stair-climbing machines as well as more specialized equipment.

A second area has been created for a variety of fitness classes that are slated to be available in the months to come.

“Now that the facility is open, we’ll survey our clientele to find out which classes are most in demand and develop a schedule based on that,” says Monica Treviño, vice-president for enrollment management.

Classes like aerobics or Zumba are not expected to be free but will be handled as a transaction between the student and the instructor.

“This project was completed with 100 percent private donations,” says Mike Coponiti, vice president for business and finance.

“Thanks to Pat Nobbs’ generosity, not one cent of public money went into the Wellness Center. That was our goal from day one. Keep the cost of construction off the taxpayer and the cost of usage off of students.”

The center is named for Nobbs, an alumna of the Oklahoma College for Women, who made a successful career in health and fashion and built the international health and fitness company, Jeunique International Inc., in Industry, Calif.

“Here’s a great legacy,” said USAO President John Feaver. “Pat Nobbs leaves the perfect tribute to a life spent encouraging healthy living. Students who never met her will for generations be touched by her thoughtful gift. And better yet, they will benefit personally from spending time in the fitness area that bears her name.”

Nobbs died on Sept. 5, 2011, in Hacienda Heights, Calif. She also left to USAO an acreage of land near her birthplace in Granite, Okla.

Crews tore out interior walls in the 1928 dormitory called Senior Hall, which was renamed Susan B. Anthony Hall in 1940, before it was swallowed by the Student Center built in 1948. The Nobbs Wellness Center fills the second floor.