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New student health era dawns as Fitness Center opens

Michael Yuschak
Posted On: Friday, January 10, 2020

Michael Yuschak

With ribbons cut and open house scheduled, the real inauguration of The Kadens Family Fitness Center can begin. Students: Get ready to sweat!

The months-long construction project is now complete (on time and budget), and all equipment installed and tested. Starting Monday (at least officially), the center becomes a classroom at the Junior/Senior High School. That means students, individually or with their sports teams, can begin using it under the guidance of the district’s new fitness center coordinator.

“Students and teams at Ottawa Hills already know the benefits that come with regular physical activity and conditioning,” said Michael Yuschak, the center’s new on-site coordinator (pictured above). “What the Fitness Center will do is take that awareness and commitment to the next level.”

But first, students (grades 7-12) need to attend an orientation with Mr. Yuschak on both fitness center do’s and don’ts and how to use the equipment. Each student will then sign a waiver saying they attended the orientation and will follow all rules regarding center etiquette (no loud music, no gum chewing, returning weights to racks, etc.). After doing so, they can use the facility during its 30 hours of weekly supervised operation.

“We are so excited to open the center and welcome it as an official classroom space,” said Ben McMurray, principal of the Junior/Senior High School. “We expect the Fitness Center to become the center of student health activities for decades to come.”

The center will become an integral part of two building operations: the academic health curriculum and the extracurricular athletic programs at the Junior/Senior High School. For example, coaches and Mr. Yuschak will use the facility to work on helping athletes prevent injury and become better conditioned.

While some teams have already scheduled pre-opening sessions with Mr. Yuschack, the center officially opens for students Monday, Jan. 13. On mornings when open, the first hour will allow Mr. Yuschak time to work with teams. Individual students or athletes also can use the equipment during this time, but only after completing the orientation.

Open fitness times when teams are not scheduled are 6:30-8 a.m. and 1:30-3 p.m. on select dates, depending upon Mr. Yuschak’s schedule. Mr. Yuschak’s schedule is:

Schedule of Fitness Center coordinator
Monday 5:30-9 1:30-5:30
Tuesday 5:30-9 1:30-5:30
Wednesday   1:30-5:30
Thursday 5:30-9 1:30-5:30
Friday 5:30-9  

Seniors are getting a sneak peek at the center through special before- and after-school orientation sessions. Since seniors get out of school an hour before other Junior/Senior High students, they have an hour head start on everyone else.

“Michael’s experience and enthusiasm make him the perfect fit to successfully launch the Fitness Center,” said Tammy Talmage, the district’s athletic administrator. “Since joining our athletic program about a year ago, he has built remarkable rapport with both coaches and students.”

As a classroom, the center is open throughout the day but accessible only from inside the building (through one of two interior entrances). When classes are offered by the Office of Village Life, participants will enter through the building’s exterior north doors, which face the student parking lot.

In addition to the equipment and a large matted area for group activities, the center also features expanded storage for the district’s health equipment, such as volleyball nets currently stored on the John Lindsay Court when not in use. The center also will have two unisex bathrooms (no showers), an office for the athletic trainer and the center coordinator office. (Athletic training services are provided to the district’s athletes and teams through a contract through Mercy Health.)

Students aren’t the only ones using the facility. The Ottawa Hills’ Office of Village Life has already scheduled its first class in the facility: a Conditioning and Strength Interval Workout taught by Mr. Yuschak (see details below). Normally, the eight-session course is $80. But in celebration of the grand opening, the first two classes are free, reducing the cost to $60.

To further advance and track student health goals, Mr. Yuschak plans to encourage students to download the TrainHeroic app. Students will download it to their phone and Mr. Yuschak, as app administrator, will invite them to OH group. The app allows the coordinator to deliver to students a customized workout, and for students to store their data and progress, access video tutorials, log nutrition. It also allows coaches to provide feedback. Mr. Yuschak will be the app’s administrator, and use it go guide students in meeting health goals and in identifying new exercises to meet strength and conditioning goals.

The center’s construction was made possible by private donations through The Kadens Family Health & Wellness Capital Campaign, a $1.5 million effort guided by the Ottawa Hills Schools Foundation. The center had its official ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday morning and its community open house Saturday.

More about the facility’s first Village Life course:

Title: MetCon - Conditioning and Strength Interval Workout

Instructor: Michael Yuschak, OH Fitness Center coordinator

Location: The Kadens Family Fitness Center

Time: All classes are from 6-7 p.m.

Description: Life throws us different kinds of challenges. This class prepare attendees for all of them. Be ready to test your conditioning (and strength) in this cross-training/HITT interval-based class. It incorporates the best multiple modalities, allowing for unlimited variety and creativity. All fitness levels are welcome. (“MetCon” is a generic term used in referring to metabolic conditioning and workouts involving repeated and/or sustained high-intensity exercises, usually involving weight-lifting movements, with short rest periods in order to burn fat or create a “conditioning” effect.)


  • Monday, Jan. 13
  • Monday, Jan. 27
  • Monday, Feb. 3
  • Monday, Feb. 10
  • Monday, Feb. 24
  • Monday, March 2
  • Monday, March 9
  • Monday, March 16

Register for the course

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