New Midland Community Center opens May 15

The grand opening of the new Midland Community Center is just around the corner, and everyone is invited to join the celebrations on May 15. 

The 140,000-square-foot facility will open its doors to the public with two welcome receptions at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. During these events, attendees can meet the staff, take guided tours, and learn about the different membership and program options. Membership options are available for all income levels, including sliding-scale fees and scholarships for families who might need a little assistance.

“We want to be that place where all people have access,” Says Terri Johnson, President and CEO of Greater Midland. “We feel like the fee structure is incredibly well balanced for the offering.” 
Misty BarronThe new courts at Midland Community Center
Modern amenities 

The $58.6 million center provides a wide range of resources for members of all ages and will provide 24/7 access to its state-of-the-art fitness center. 

Johnson is pleased to offer 24/7 access to members. Midland is a diverse community with various industry workers requiring non-traditional schedules. "It takes things to the next level," she says.

Although only the fitness area will be available around the clock, the center features many other modern amenities usable throughout business hours. Johnson is looking forward to using the walking track which has an adventure bridge halfway through it. “There are a lot of new features we’re excited about,” she says.

One of those features is the new aquatic center, which boasts an eight-lane lap pool, outdoor slide, resistance channel, and leisure pool. A whirlpool and dry sauna are also connected for member use. In addition to the aquatic center, the facility has ample space for indoor sports, such as basketball, volleyball, and pickleball.

Space for all agesMisty BarronBrand new early education classrooms
Community input and workshops inspired the design of the new center and will include other resources such as rentable party rooms, youth lounges, and senior spaces. 

Johnson highlights the need for a “third place” among community members—somewhere outside of work and home where people can go to spend their time. “It’s going to be a really great gathering place,” she says, " whether you’re doing a silver sneaker program for active or a year of the child in our licensed program or anything in between.”

Among the areas reserved for non-fitness activities, the classrooms dedicated to early childhood education truly stand out. These rooms are specifically designed for young children and are located away from the main building to ensure a peaceful learning environment. Each room is equipped with child-sized desks and sinks, and has direct access to an outdoor playground, making it easy for the children to enjoy some fresh air and playtime.

It’s obvious from just a glance that safety was at the forefront as well. Each end has security doors, ensuring only those meant to be inside can gain access. The modern layout also means more space, opening the opportunity to at least 20 percent more kids.

All areas are staffed by knowledgeable employees who are ready to welcome everyone to the center. “We serve with heart,” says Johnson. “I’m very proud of our employees.” 
Misty BarronMidland Community Center's new aquatic area
Universal design

Universal design principles have been implemented in every aspect of the new center, ensuring that all facilities are accessible to everyone. For instance, the pool area has a zero entry point, making it easier for people with disabilities to enjoy. 

The locker room features a line of cabanas, all of which are fully accessible, and one of them is specifically designed for adults who require changing assistance. These spaces cater to families, people with disabilities, and individuals who need extra privacy.

“The spaces are 80 percent utilization. So, it’s a highly efficient building,” says Johnson. “We want to be the center for everybody.” 

Herbert Dow recognized the significance of having a central space to unite the community. He established the first Midland Community Center, which laid the groundwork for the formation of Greater Midland. Ever since its establishment in 1919, the organization has remained steadfast in its commitment to promoting the health and well-being of the community.Misty BarronWorkers put finishing touches on the center's welcome area.

The current building was inaugurated in 1955, with a generous contribution of $1.5 million from the Dow Chemical Company. Since then, the center has undergone a series of extensions and renovations. However, the building has now exceeded its expected lifespan, and the maintenance costs have become a financial burden, making it difficult for the center to invest in the community's needs. As a result, the old building will be demolished to make space for much-needed parking.

“We offer our heartfelt appreciation to employees, members of the community with their patients during the construction,” says Johnson. “And ask for their continued patience during the demo because parking's been a little challenging.”

About Greater Midland
Greater Midland is a nonprofit organization devoted to bettering the community through recreation, wellness, and social services. They encourage the lifelong pursuit of learning, fulfillment, and good health. Their respect for differences and equity for all has led to offering programs and services that reflect the community’s needs.

Over the past century, Greater Midland has grown to include several units, including the Community Center, tennis and curling centers, Coleman Family Center, North Midland, and many corporate fitness programs. 

The Community Center was the first foundation of Greater Midland and is now the sixth largest employer in the city. It employs more than 500 people countywide and positively affects an estimated 80 percent of city residents, with 60 percent of those living in Midland County.

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Misty Barron is a recent graduate of Delta College where she served as Editor-in-Chief for the Delta Collegiate. In her free time, Misty enjoys creative writing and spending time with family. She is also a certified web designer and graphic artist.