Photo courtesy of Schoolcraft College
For many, the last year was spent at home away from our normal routines and schedules. Classes and life became virtual. During that time, some exciting new facilities were being built around campus. One of those newly constructed structures is the Mercy Elite Sports Center (ESC). Located adjacent to the Physical Education Building, this facility opened its doors to the community Feb. 18.
This is the newest home to the partnership between St. Joe’s Health, Mercy Elite Sports Performance and Schoolcraft College and it’s no small addition.
The ESC is the official home to training conducted by the Michigan Wolves-Hawks Soccer Club and the western suburban home for the Michigan Elite Volleyball Academy.
“With its many amenities, we anticipate this state-of-the-art complex will quickly become an active hub for our campus community, community members and sports teams from across the area and beyond,” Dr. Glenn Cerny, Schoolcraft College president, said in a press release.
The ESC provides students, staff, faculty and the community alike with a new place to exercise, learn and snack. The potential of this facility is vast due to the passionate workers that continue to cater to the needs of those who find themselves inside.
“The Sports Center will evolve with regards to all the possible activities and events that we can accommodate in the space,” explains Patty Donohue-Ebach, Recreation Manager of the Fitness Center and Sports Dome. “We look forward to being able to service many different types of sports and programs in this building as the schedule allows. It will eventually be a center that has nonstop activity 16 or more hours a day-and we are looking forward to that day.”
One visit is not nearly enough time to see everything that the building has to offer. There is a plethora of things to do and explore. With this in mind, Donohue-Ebach sees the facility as a new opportunity to provide those who experience its benefits with a multifunctional area that will fulfill many needs and purposes.
Volleyball, pickleball and soccer are specifically brought up by Donahue-Ebach, but are far from the only sports that will be featured in the facility. The work put into this building means that visitors can expect a safe, clean experience with COVID-19 precautions in mind, all while still having a multitude of activities to participate in while having peace of mind.
Pickleball and Indoor Track
Pickleball courts are available to reserve, Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to noon and then again from 1-3 p.m. It is $8 per person for a two-hour block. Grab a group and sign up to play. There are paddles and balls if participants don’t have their own. You can call the Fitness Center when we open in the morning (7 a.m.) to reserve your court.
The ESC also has an indoor 1/7-mile track. The track is open to members of the Fitness Center. It’s a great option in a temperature-controlled environment. The track is open all the hours that the Fitness Center is open. If you would like to utilize the track, please stop by the Fitness Center front desk to receive a wristband first.
“I love the fact that there are endless possibilities of sport and activity that can go on in the Sports Center and ultimately, something for everyone,” she elaborates. “It’s a great addition for our campus. Also, lots of good energy in the space.”
Healthy eats for those on the go
The Elite Sports Market and Smoothie Bar is sure to delight your taste buds. Chef Heather Moore, Café Manager and Adjunct Professor in Culinary Arts, has much to say about the new facility. She is the overseer of operations at the Elite Market and Smoothie Bar, but her involvement in this program goes much deeper. Her time will be spent seeing to the culinary needs of visitors, whatever they may be. After all that hard work and exercise, there are bound to be people looking to decompress with some delicious snacks from the market. This means that this facility is no simple gym, food enthusiasts of the community can find their home here as well.
“Our goal at the Elite Market and Smoothie Bar is to provide the athletes with the proper fuel to help them perform at their peak level,” states Moore, “We want to elevate and exceed the expectations of all of our visitors of what concession food can be.”
The safety of all who enter this facility is a priority to its staff no matter the situation, and despite the complications that COVID-19 have brought with it, Moore assures that sanitation has been a priority since the beginning and safety measures have only increased. Some of these precautions are automatic hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes at each kiosk and a self-serving Starbucks coffee machine used by scanning a QR code on the machine to avoid the threat of germs.
“The Elite Market is [a] self-serve, self-checkout, kiosk style market that will be open anytime the building is open,” explains Moore. “Everything we sell will be completely grab and go style. Our focus is to provide visitors with a variety of healthy and fresh meals, snacks and beverages.”
Visitors can expect a vast menu ranging from salads, various bowls such as Buddha and burritos, sandwiches, fresh snack boxes, soup and more. She goes on to explain that the Smoothie Bar will be operational for patrons during special events and tournaments. Smoothies made at the bar are masterfully handcrafted with 100 percent organic fruits and vegetables. Artificial sweeteners are also replaced by natural ones such as dates and honey. On top of this, smoothies can be topped with fresh fruit, granola, nuts, seeds and more depending on the palette of the customer. A wide range of toppings are available to supplement the wide range of customers. For those with a sweet tooth, a selection of milkshakes will also be available on the menu.
Athletic Training and Physical Therapy
Mercy Elite Sports Performance added an additional location for services to the community inside the ESC which focuses on sports performance, training programs and physical therapy. This facility provides opportunities for training for all levels of teams, groups and individuals.
To learn more about the various programs offered at Mercy Elite, call 734-655-8240 or go to https://www.mercyelite.org.
On May 1, the Center was used to house Schoolcraft’s 56th Commencement Ceremony. Two hundred and 18 graduates attended the event on-site while another 140 joined their peers virtually. This is the first time since 2004 that a commencement was held on campus.
The ESC is a valuable asset to the Schoolcraft community that will stand as a testament to the College’s accomplishments for years to come. The growth has not stopped either. The nature of this building means that it is constantly evolving to suit the needs of patrons. The sky is the limit for this facility and there are great things to come.
Those who are looking for a place to exercise their body and mind in the waning days of the pandemic will surely find no better option than the ESC.
The ESC is located on the Schoolcraft College main campus at 18100 St. Joe’s Parkway,