Williamston has a common theme throughout the town about their close-knit community feel and environment. Williamston High School not only serves just their students, but it also has opened itself up for business to the whole community, at the Williamston Community Pool and Fitness Center.
Williamston High School used to have an outdoor pool open to the school and public, but after it started requiring more and more repairs, the school board decided it would be more costly to keep feeding funds in for repair, rather than opening a new pool. It later filled the outdoor pool and decided to build a brand new pool inside the high school.
The high school’s pool, fitness center and track cater to the students, but it also opened up the facilities to the public and anyone who would like to use them. People from all over the area, including Stockbridge, Dansville, Haslett and East Lansing all can come to use the facilities on either a membership or a drop-in fee per day.
“Our rates vary depending on whether or not our customers are residents or nonresidents,” Jennifer McGillis, director of enrichment, pool and fitness center said. “One thing we pride ourselves on here is our rates that can’t be beat pretty much anywhere else around.”
Williamston is the only city in the Lansing area who has a pool open to the public with the next closest pool located near Haslett and Howell. The community fitness center prides itself on its more than reasonable prices, and likes to cater to many people who work in Lansing and maybe drive through Williamston with their more than accommodating hours of service.
“We like to accommodate our community members as well as we can when it comes to our hours of operation,” McGillis said. “We’re not 24 hours, but we start at 5:30 in the morning and go until 9 at night.”
The community center doesn’t just provide a fitness center, track and pool, but it also offer a wide variety of training classes. They have what is called enrichment programs, where some instructors of the classes are actually part of Williamston’s staff, and others are certified instructors who get paid by the school to come in and lead the classes.
Williamston fitness center also has a personal trainer who works with the students as well as having a client-based rapport with members from the community. Dale Williams, a Michigan State alum, became the fitness center’s personal trainer in 2015 after completing an internship at State of Fitness in East Lansing.
Williams says he was brought in as a personal trainer when the fitness center director wanted to offer community members more training programs and felt Williams would do that job exceptionally well.
“I work with both students and community members using the fitness center,” Williams said. “I enjoy working with young athletes and, as a former Williamston student athlete (class of 2009), I want to be able to give back to a community that gave so much to me.”
Williams says the biggest thing the community pool and fitness center brings to him and to other people is the sense of community. He says he loves working at a place where everybody knows your name and everyone is so friendly, as is the whole community. Williams really enjoys seeing some of the older members who have lived in and seen Williamston grow over the decades interact with the students and younger community members.
“I live in Williamston and the community center is as pleasant as it can be,” Marie Milkovich said. “I really enjoy the environment here, it’s been so great to me in the last four years that I’ve been going here.”
Milkovich says she really enjoys the community center’s accommodations when it comes to seniors citizens, offering a discounted rate per year. She also pointed to being around the younger generation and how it motivates her to stay in shape and she really enjoys through the years some of the conversations she’s been able to have with some of the students and other community members.
The Williamston Community Fitness Center is open Monday-Friday 5:30 a.m.- 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.