St. Luke’s has launched its newest fitness and sports center, one designed especially for athletes.
The 30,000 square-foot building is located on Union Boulevard in Allentown and is expected to open in September.
The objective of the $3 million to 4 million project is to offer an indoor facility for youth up through high school to improve their athletic skills, according to details released at a May 31 press conference at the St. Luke’s Fitness & Sports Performance Center on Cetronia Road in Allentown.
“It will be different from our other four centers in that its primary focus will be on sports skill development and sports field training,” said John F. Graham, senior network administrator for fitness and sports performance at St. Luke’s University Health Network.
The building will include 18,000 square feet of turf-field space with goals for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and other sports, along with baseball and softball cages, in addition to a spectator area running the length of the fields.
“I’ve seen some schools in Allentown who have three teams going on one field at one time; that’s not right,” said Terry Bender, an investor in the project. “We as business people aren’t giving the youth what they deserve. We are stepping up to the plate with St. Luke’s to provide for the community.”
David Akers, former Hall of Fame kicker for the Philadelphia Eagles, is another investor in the project.
“Health care is a great opportunity for investment,” he said. “We all get older and get injured. Physical therapists, physicians, training, it will all be in-house and affordable. You don’t have to go to multiple places. It’s a community effort.”
“As an entrepreneur,” he continued, “when you find a need out there, you want to jump on it, and since St. Luke’s is already doing this and it’s growing so much, why not be a part of it.”
For Lehigh Valley corporations, the center will offer wellness programs with specialized training designed to improve employee health.
“It’s been shown statistically that the employee who exercises spends $1,500 less a year on health care costs than the employee who doesn’t,” said St. Luke’s Graham.
Tactical fitness training for first responders will also be available, in addition to traditional fitness components for the general public, including group classes and senior sports like bocce and paddle tennis.
The Allentown facility joins other St. Luke’s fitness centers in Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Phillipsburg.