Ames project offers possible internships


Ames voters rejected a bond funding the Healthy Life Center Tuesday by a 51.5-48.5 margin.

Matt Bruder

The Ames City Council reiterated their support for the Healthy Life Center, an ongoing Ames project which will offer internship and applied learning opportunities to Iowa State students once it reaches completion.  

The Ames Healthy Life Center is an ongoing project for the city and surrounding community, seeking to serve an area spanning from Boone over to Nevada and Huxley north to Story City. Healthy Life aims to promote a holistic, healthy lifestyle to a demographic of over 111 thousand people.

It will offer amenities commonly found in fitness centers such as gymnasiums, an aquatics area complete with a therapy pool and water slides for children, a weight and cardio fitness room and a multipurpose studio.

In addition, it will include more community-oriented services in the form of arts, crafts and music, conference space, children’s space and senior services.

The kicker for the Healthy Life Center is the opportunity it brings to the students of Iowa State. Nancy Carroll, one of the project committee members, said the Healthy Life Center would “be a great opportunity for student learning.”

With the amenities afforded there, like the community kitchen and the physical therapy resources from Mary Greeley Medical Center, she said, students in programs like dietetics, kinesiology and pre-physical therapy will have “a lot of opportunity for applied student learning and internships.”

The project’s developers estimate that the roughly $48 million project will serve just under one thousand people per day.

Since it began in November 2016, the organizers of the Healthy Life Center project have been working on a feasibility study that concluded this month. This study put in sight a philanthropic donations stage with a goal of $18.2 million.

Through July of this year, the project’s organizers plan to finalize a strategy for the completion and operation of the center.

In August, there will be a joint meeting to determine the next steps, and everything following is contingent on the outcomes of that meeting.

The first step after the decisions made then will be a public education campaign to raise awareness for the project. Although there are no set dates on the timeline, the whole process is expected to take approximately three to four years, including an estimated two-year construction period following the approval of a bond referendum.