One of the most noticeably absent resources in the community over the past year has been the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribal fitness center. The facility, generously made available to any resident in Moody County free of charge for for many years, was closed this past fall and remodeled to house the tribe’s new medical marijuana dispensary.
The loss has been tough. Many tribal members, among others, grew to rely on the facility not only as a place to work out, but also to socialize.
It hasn’t gone unnoticed. Tribal leadership has talked for years, however, about creating a better and more user-friendly space for the community to gather, work-out, improve their health and well-being, and have fun doing a variety of activities.
That conversation is again happening in earnest.
At Wednesday’s Tribal Health Fair, design and engagement representatives from the global architectural and interior design firm, Gensler, were seeking input from visitors as to what they might want to see in a new fitness and healing center. Company representatives told the Enterprise that they were there to listen, learn, and gather input on what might best serve the community. They want any new facility to draw in families from across the generations for physical fitness opportunities as well as emotional and spiritual healing.
“We want to make sure this is a place they will come,” said Cindy Jacobs, CEO of FSST’s Tribal Clinic. “What’s needed to bring the kids, the families and the grandmas, that multi-generational dimension to this new facility? Fitness for sure. We’re looking to have a walking track. But we’d also like to see a healthy cafe in there and the use of a lot of Native traditional therapies including a garden…we’re really hoping that this will be a place that people come to when they are well.”
Childcare is another amenity the tribe hopes will be a draw.
The proposed location is directly behind the current tribal community center, which is next door to the current health clinic.
“It’s tough to do wellness within an acute care clinic,” said Jacobs. “By the time they’re seen in the clinic, most are already very sick. The health of this community is imperative for this tribe and sustainability, the next generation,” said Jacobs.
Gensler’s team continues to look for input on any new fitness and wellness facility. For more information or to take part in Genseler’s online survey, hold your phone’s camera up to the QR code, you should be directed to a virtual survey to be done at your convenience.