The University of Maine Presque Isle will mark the 10th anniversary of Caroline D. Gentile Hall in a way that its namesake would approve—with wellness activities, healthy snacks and a celebration of community. This anniversary celebration will take place on Saturday, Feb. 6 from 2-5:30 p.m. inside the facility. All are invited to attend this free event.
Festivities will include a Community Day from 2-5 p.m., featuring a free open gym, rock wall, swimming pool, facility tours, and fitness equipment orientations. There will be a social in the lobby from 4-5:30 p.m.; healthy snacks will be provided and there will be a short program with membership appreciation at 4 p.m.
“There are so many events and activities that take place in Gentile Hall over the course of any given year, from academic classes and Special Olympics events to the Sportsman’s Show and the City of Presque Isle’s swimming activities,” UMPI President Linda Schott said. “We are so pleased to be celebrating ten years of wellness and the connections to our community that this facility has fostered.”
Gentile Hall, which opened to the public on January 21, 2006, features a 13,000-square-foot multipurpose gym that can be used for a variety of different sports—from basketball and soccer to badminton and volleyball; a 4,000-square-foot fitness center with more than $100,000 in equipment including cardio machines, resistance machines and free weights; a 25-yard pool; an elevated track that overlooks the gym; and a 37-foot-high climbing wall that features eight climbs for all abilities. The facility supports the University’s academic programs and student body, and welcomes the community to use its resources.
The building’s lobby includes a bronze sculpture entitled “Fiddleheads” by Vermont-based artist Jim Sardonis that was commissioned as part of the state’s Percent for Art law. The artwork, which depicts three fiddlehead ferns, stands 9 feet tall and is mounted on a granite and wood bench that has been used by many a patron over the years. Sitting at this bench, visitors can read the facility’s “motto” emblazoned above the main doors: “A Life of Activity, A Lifetime of Health.”
Named in honor of the University’s longest serving faculty member, the building continues the legacy that Miss Gentile created during her 56-year career as a physical education professor. In 2002, she stepped forward with a $500,000 gift–the largest individual gift in the institution’s history–to help build the wellness facility. Including a legacy gift that she bequeathed to the campus upon her passing in 2008, her total gift to the University was approximately $1.1 million.
Those latter funds have been used to ensure that equipment in the facility stays up to date and to increase the building’s energy efficiency. Gentile Hall staffers, including Dick Gardiner, Amanda Baker, Keli Marston and Donna Underwood, are looking forward to showcasing the facility, and showing guests how it’s been well used and well maintained over time, during the anniversary event on Feb. 6.
“This Community Celebration is our way of saying ‘Thank You’ to all the individuals and businesses for their overwhelming support and partnerships these past ten years,” Dick Gardiner, Director of Gentile Hall, said. “Miss Gentile would be very proud to see her facility as a driving force in promoting healthy lifestyles.”
In addition to free facility access and healthy snacks during the celebration, there will be several promotional offers available exclusively to event participants. For more information about this event, please contact Amanda Baker or Keli Marston at 207-768-9772.