When Healthtrax closed permanently in May of 2019, it created a chasm so deep for Raj Jadhav that the 52-year-old McMurray man bought the gym space with two other investors.
Highpoint Fitness, located at 1000 Higbee Drive in Bethel Park, opens Dec. 15. A grand opening celebration will be held in January 2021.
“(The closure) created a gap,” said Jadhav, who moved to the area more than a dozen years ago. “There was nothing out there that gave me the sense of community I had at Healthtrax. It really became our family.”
Jessica Mancosh concurred. An aquatics instructor for 17 years, she taught Jadhav’s two children: Aaryan, now a senior at Rice University; and Eeshann, a senior at Peters Township High School, how to swim.
“Definitely a family here,” said Mancosh.
She is excited to resume her duties at the new health club.
“A new family in a new place,” she said. “We are thrilled to get everybody back home again.”
Jadhav said old as well as new members will feel comfortable in the new fitness center. He said the new gym will be community-focused, safe and clean.
“We want this gym to be for everyone. A place people can call home,” he said. “Most people come here because they want a refuge, where they can leave the outside world behind,” said Jadhav.
Once inside the fitness center, members have an array of choices from individual workouts to group classes. The gym is equipped with 41 all-new Matrix cardio machines that run the gamut from treadmills to steppers to ellipticals.
There’s a specific area for free weights as well as a group fitness studio for yoga, step, power, Pilates and Mossa classes.
In addition to swimming lessons, an array of aquatics classes will be offered. The area features a main pool for lap swimming, lessons and classes as well as a smaller pool. Additionally, there are spa features such as a hot tub, sauna and steam rooms.
“We are not a club even though we have all the amenities of one,” Jadhav said. “We want this to be a place that ordinary people will be able to afford. As investors, our spirit was to give back to the community. All we do here is for the community.”
The community can achieve its fitness goals through personal and small group training as well at Highpoint Fitness. A specific area in the gym is dedicated to functional workouts with kettle bells, bands, balls, weights and ropes. There are punching bags and rowing machines.
Kelli Snyder is thrilled with the refurbished areas in which she will be working as Highpoint’s director of fitness. She will also manage the group and personal training.
“The owners have done a fantastic job of making this a wonderful place in which to train. It’s unbelievable and a little overwhelming to be part of such a great undertaking,” she said. “I feel blessed to be part of such a great leadership/ownership team.”
Snyder said she is hoping Highpoint Fitness recaptures the camaraderie Healthtrax once provided.
“That sense of community and family has been impossible for people to recreate,” she said. “People have tired to find a place similar, but there is no other. I’m super confident that’s what will separate us from the rest. That environment we are trying to recapture is imperative to our success and that will put us back on top.”
Highpoint Fitness also offers a spin studio that features state-of-the-art equipment, from the 22 bikes to the sound system and video monitors.
John Carberry helped design the spin studio, which displays inspirational quotes and a mural photographed by Cindy Cavanaugh, on its walls.
“I wanted to create an atmosphere that makes you realize that you are winning if you are here,” said the spin instructor. “You are here because you want to make yourself better.
“Overall, the feeling is we are here to promote wellness and exercise does promote wellness. My hope, my vision,” he continued, “is to create a place for people to come that is going to make them healthy and happy and is going to bring the community together.”
Highpoint Fitness will operate on a reduced schedule during the pandemic. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekends.
Occupancy will be determined by the health inspector’s recommendation. The maximum workout time is the gym is limited to 90 minutes and members will be required to scan in as well as scan out. Plus, masks are required for all activities, except for swimming.
In addition to its website, www.highpointfitness.com, the gym will roll out an app that allows members to sign-up ahead of time for classes or to monitor capacity.
“We are starting small and slowly and trying to build up,” Jadhav said. “You cannot be careful enough. We want to make people comfortable.”
Currently Highpoint Fitness has compiled an email list of 500 potential customers.
Some 350 are former Healthtrax members.
“Many people are eager to come back. They felt as if they belonged here,” Jadhav said.
“It’s amazing the small world that was built in this community. We saw every type of person. People that helped each and really worked together.”
For more information, call 412-230-1000.