Meghan McFee, fitness director at Garden City Recreation Commission, is super excited about about Core Fitness, a branch GCRC fitness facility nearing completion on Lareu Road southeast of Old Chicago.

She’s even excited about the water fountain.

“It’s really cheesy, but my water fountain will spit out water that’s been taken care of by Scheopner’s. It will run through a Scheopner’s filter and be equivalent to what comes out of their five gallon jugs. I wanted to make sure if we were offering a water fountain to people, I want it to be good water,” she said.

GCRC has been working on expansion plans since McFee started working there in 2011. She said it’s incredible to see those plans come to fruition.

“I keep getting impatient. I want to be open the first week of January, but I have to keep reminding myself I need to be patient, let the process happen,” she said.

Work began in August on the Core Fitness site. The developer, Stone Development, took the old Fun Center building and moved it, McFee said. GCRC hopes to open sometime in January but McFee doesn’t have a more specific date.

“We’ve been looking to expand our wellness department for a long time. It’s been very much needed. The facility I have now has five treadmills, four ellipticals, six bikes. Just really not enough for the population and community we serve,” she said.

The new facility will have 20 treadmills, 16 elliptical exercise machines, and nine stationary bicycles. It will also include a full assortment of weight training equipment, both free weights and weight machines, and a weight room.

In addition, Core Fitness will have men’s and women’s locker rooms, restrooms, shower facilities, and offices for McFee and staff. Two additional full-time staff have been hired. Sarah Tighe, community health specialist, will coordinate corporate wellness programs and partnerships, and Jessi Phillips will help with personal training and managing the front desk.

Phillips is both a personal trainer and works the front desk at GCRC downtown.

“I’m really excited about it,” Phillips said. “I just got to see the inside for the first time today. There’s still quite a bit to do, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Phillips will help people set up a personal program. She’s most excited to see the new equipment.

“It’s all top of the line equipment. All individual based. It tracks everybody’s individual workout, which is kind of cool,” she said.

McFee said Core Fitness will be the first fully integrated fitness center in the state with all its exercise machines connected to a network.

“It’s going to be very top of the line. Our cardio equipment is going to have individual TV screens, and will be hooked up to cable and Internet. If you’re coordinated enough to walk on a treadmill and surf the Internet that will be an option,” she said. “But the really neat thing about it is they are all hooked together — the bikes, the ellipticals and the treadmills — so you can create a user name and profile and it will track your workouts.”

The system allows Core Fitness members to set health and wellness goals and keep track of progress electronically. There will even be an app available allowing members to keep track of progress using their cell phone.

McFee said Core Fitness has hired a number of new part time staff, and she anticipates there will be 15 to 20 part-time staff to run the facility. In addition to offering classes like yoga and Zumba, Core Fitness will look to expand on classes offered at the Wellness Center.

One of the new classes McFee highlighted is called Body Pump, a group exercise that involves barbells and weights.

“It’s a new class for our area. I think the nearest place that offers it is Wichita, so that’s a really exciting thing,” McFee said. “We’re going to be offering some boot camp type classes, basically anything and everything. I’m hiring three or four new personal trainers. We’re really looking to expand personal training and group exercise.”

The goal is to provide more opportunities to reach a more diverse population, McFee said, one that not only offers a workout spot, but one that offers a knowledgeable staff who can assist people with their individual fitness needs or questions.

From 400 to 600 people are enrolled in the GCRC’s wellness program in any given month. McFee hopes to greatly increase memberships with Core Fitness.

“We’re hoping to grow that ten-fold,” she said. “We’re going to have more equipment, more space, more staff. To go from a five treadmill facility to a 20 treadmill facility is a huge leap.”

GCRC’s wellness center downtown will still operate after Core Fitness opens, but it may be phased out as a wellness facility over time. McFee said the wellness center building wasn’t designed for a fitness center, and it has some issues, such as its ventilation system, that aren’t ideal.

“The new facility has windows, which I’m really excited about. The treadmills look outside. It’s kind of a nice, added bonus,” she said.

Stone Development developed the site and is leasing it to GCRC. McFee said GCRC used budgeted capital funds to purchase all the equipment inside.

Core Fitness is not part of a national chain or organization. GCRC staff came up with the name though it took a bit of discussion, McFee said.

“We’re just trying to promote that good health is the core of everything you do. So that’s where Core Fitness came from,” she said.

The regular hours of operation for Core Fitness will be 4:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The most expensive membership will cost $35 per month, but there are a variety of options available that will offer discounted rates. Contact the GCRC for more information.