Clarion University Partners with Local Business to open Pa.’s first National Fitness Court

President Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson cuts the ribbon to officially open the National Fitness Court. With her (from left) are Center for Wellness director Jim McGee, M&B Services owners Mike and Kristen Hindman, campus recreation coordinator Ewing Moussa, and Fitness Court ambassador Carly Errera.

Clarion University is now one of 20 higher education institutions in the United States to have a National Fitness Court on campus.

The 32-by-32-foot, open-air facility – the first National Fitness Court in Pennsylvania – was funded through a $30,000 NFC Fitness Grant as part of the 2019 Healthy College Campaign and an in-kind gift from M&B Services in Clarion. Jim McGee, director of Clarion University Center for Wellness, said that student input requesting additional outdoor recreation facilities drove the decision to apply for the grant. The court will be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is free to use for students, faculty, staff and the community; no membership or university affiliation is required.

Mike and Kristen Hindman (left), who own M&B Services with Braun Gourley, stand with President Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson and Trustee Jim Kifer at the university’s National Fitness Court. M&B Services donated excavation, site preparation and cement work for the court.

M&B Services donated excavation, site preparation and concrete.

“The vitality of Clarion University and the Clarion community are inextricably reliant on one another, and this project emphasizes how important our partnerships are,” Clarion President Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson said. “When we expressed the need for the grass-covered, sloped piece of ground to be prepared for installation of the Fitness Court, Mike Hindman and Braun Gourley generously offered M&B Services’ labor and materials to make that happen. The result is a fitness facility that will benefit campus and community alike. We express our deepest appreciation to M&B Services.”

“Braun and I have always been inspired by the generations that owned and operated businesses before us,” Hindman said. “The partnerships those businesses had with each other helped to build this community and helped one another to prosper. We try to support and give back to the community when we can, as they support us. The university is a big part of that, so partnering with them on this project made sense to us.”

The Fitness Court features seven movement zones with equipment designed to work the entire body. Moves can be modified to accommodate various fitness levels.

“The system is designed to work for every size and shape, age and ability level,” said Cree Larson, National Fitness Court’s director of partnership activation. “It’s digitally connected, with a great Fitness Court app that includes programming, classes, guided workouts and challenges.”

In addition to the app, which is available free through the iTunes App Store and Google Play, Clarion University has a 23-person network of trained Fitness Court ambassadors who will hold classes on the court and facilitate free programming between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. weekly. The program schedule will be available through the app and at the university’s Student Recreation Center.