Community center seeks profitability

City will revamp business plan to strengthen customer appeal

By JACINDA HOWARD, The Mirror

Nearing its one-year anniversary, the Federal Way Community Center continues to restructure and stabilize its business plan.

Changes in the fees, policies and programs offered at the facility are hoped to transform it into a profitable business and popular attraction.

Fee modifications:

The Federal Way City Council and community center staff want the facility to be affordable to the public. A 25 percent discount will be offered on three-month, six-month and annual passes, said Mary Faber, Recreation and Cultural Services superintendent.

A 30 percent discount is now in place for Federal Way nonprofit organizations that wish to use the community wing of the center. An evaluation of all pass rates is expected to be completed by the conclusion of summer.

A significant decrease in the price charged for private gym rental will also be seen soon. Currently, the community center charges $150 for the rental. Prices are expected to drop to between $50 and $75, Faber said. This amount is better aligned with the market value of gym rental, she said. Along with adjusting prices for the center’s services and amenities, a focus on increased customer service is taking shape.

Customer-oriented approach:

The community center is making efforts to improve its customer service. Within weeks, staff will adorn uniforms that clearly identify them as

employees. This will help visitors recognize who they can ask for assistance, Faber said.

“People will know it’s our staff,” she said.

Courtesy calls, in an effort to keep pass holders up to date on when their membership is due to expire, are now being made by staff. Additionally, twice a year beginning this month, customers will be asked to fill out a survey detailing their likes and dislikes of the center. The survey will be fashioned in a way that will allow for a measurement of the establishment’s progress and the public’s perceptions of the facility, Faber said. Customer comment cards are also available.

Federal Way resident Shannon Wittenberg has attended the community center for approximately six months. She brings her whole family and has noticed the friendly attitudes and approachable demeanor of the facility’s employees, she said.

“I love it because it’s not a typical gym atmosphere,” she said.

Policy adjustments:

Following the community center’s one-year anniversary celebration late this month, changes in the center’s policies are planned. By summer, hours of operation may change to better accommodate guests while also allowing more efficient use of the facility’s resources, Faber said.

Teenagers as young as 15 or 16 may be allowed to serve as an adult to children under age 12, who are not permitted unaccompanied in the community center, to the facility. This will better meet with the customers’ needs and allow for older siblings or baby-sitters to monitor youngsters at the facility, supervisor Doug Nelson said.

“Originally we were holding firm to (age) 18,” he said.

This age may have been too strict and caused some families inconveniences, he said.

Additional programs:

Other areas of the community center may experience adjustments as well. Senior citizens reported to staff that they would like to see the Senior Lounge used for health and wellness activities. This could include fitness classes.

“Seniors are excited about the opportunities to expand the use,” Faber said.

Class and lesson structures will be altered slightly. Current pass holders can now chose to engage in a VIP class called Group Centergy, a mixture of yoga and pilates for beginners, beginning April 7. The workout has already garnered more than 30 interested participants. Classes at the community center are generally $40 to $50 per class session, but this class will be offered as a free amenity to pass holders.

Other activities, such as the community center’s Biggest Loser contest, in which members compete to lose weight and get in shape quickly, and Spring into Summer, will be offered at a discounted price to pass holders. This season’s Biggest Loser saw an enrollment of 70 participants.

Many of the changes will take place after the facility has experienced one year of business in April, Faber said. This will allow for complete data on the establishment’s progress in the past year to be compiled and compared to future data.

Contact Jacinda Howard: jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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Check it out:

The Federal Way Community Center is at 876 S. 333rd St. Hours are 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. weekdays; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. To learn more, call (253) 835-6900.

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CORRECTION:

An article titled “Community center seeks profitability” (March 5) reported that a 25 percent discount will be offered on three-month, six-month and annual passes at the Federal Way Community Center. In fact, this discount will only be offered to low-income pass holders. The guidelines are still in the design process for determining who will be considered low-income.


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