Just seven months after completing a 14,000-square-foot tennis building, Bainbridge Athletic Club is adding another dimension to its fitness programming with the construction of a gymnasium.
BAC is replacing one of the tennis courts in the new building with a college-sized basketball court that can be used for a variety of activities from youth soccer to “mommy and me” programs. A wall, which separates the tennis court from the gym, has already been built.
“There’s a shift in the market because people want more and more entertainment with their exercise,” co-owner Shelly Stockman said.
The 7,000-square-foot gym will allow BAC to pique the interest of a wide range of members and non-members, she said.
“I think we want to be innovators, and you need space to innovate,” Stockman said. “As the market changes and member demand changes, we’re ready and we can adapt very, very quickly. We’re willing to create a culture here of risk-taking and innovation.”
BAC, which was known as Bainbridge Racquet Club when Ted and Kellan Eisenhardt purchased the business in 1991, has evolved into a full-service fitness facility.
The property, which is just shy of six acres, houses five tennis courts in addition to fitness spaces such as weight rooms and exercise studios.
“[The idea] has been brewing for a while,” co-owner Ted Eisenhardt said. “This [gym] is multi-purpose. It affords the opportunity to provide some services that aren’t available on the island at all and to increase the variety of things that our members can enjoy.”
While the gym will be used for activities such as dance and volleyball, the space will also be utilized for less-mainstream sports such as dodgeball and badminton.
BAC’s passion is to attract people of all fitness levels and abilities, especially those who haven’t lived an active lifestyle, Stockman said.
“We’re trying to reach the people who aren’t apt to walk through the door if it’s just fitness,” Stockman said. “We’re trying to be ahead of our customer by providing things to the community that they didn’t even know were possible.”
While the official programming has not been finalized, the space will be primarily used by members, Ted Eisenhardt said.
“The emphasis is on member amenities,” he said. “We do have some non-member activities involved.
“We think there might be some rentals. The goal isn’t to provide a space to rent; the goal is to provide a space to provide new activities that are fun.”
There are currently nine indoor basketball courts of various sizes on the island, all of which are owned by the school district, said Julie Miller, the sports and fitness coordinator for Bainbridge Island Metro Park & Recreation District. BAC’s college-size court will be the island’s largest, she said, with the BHS court coming in second.
BAC offers programs for children as young as 3 years old, Stockman said, and the new space will add more depth to its offerings.
“We will be even a better fit for families because we’re better able to add all kinds of programs for all kinds of ages and all kinds of combinations of ages,” co-owner Kellan Eisenhardt said. “We’re more than ever a place where families can be together, enjoy time together in a healthy way.”
Construction is scheduled to be completed in mid-September, with a grand opening event planned for October.
“Over 20 years the world has changed,” Ted Eisenhardt said. “The science of fitness has changed, and what kinds of things that can be done – the equipment, the programs, the knowledge base – is forever changing, so we want to be at the edge of that.”