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Fitness building fits environment

Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community's new Emerson Wellness and Clark Aquatic Center has an award from the U.S. Green Building Council for its construction methods.
Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community's new Emerson Wellness and Clark Aquatic Center has an award from the U.S. Green Building Council for its construction methods. The Olympian

Silas Torvend is 88 but that doesn't keep him from hitting the gym at least four days a week.

His workout used to be a daily stroll around the 28-acre Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Center, where he’s lived with his wife for five years.

That was before the 5,000-square-foot Emerson Wellness and Clark Aquatic Center – which has earned an award for being “green” - opened in January.

“This is a tremendous gift for us here,” Torvend said. “It keeps us healthy and we feel better.”

Now, he mixes it up on the treadmill, bike and stretching machines.

The $2.2 million structure includes a small gym, saltwater pool and aerobics room with an assortment of classes geared toward keeping the senior population active.

“To see 80-year-old people hooking and jabbing is hilarious,” wellness director Carliss Crowley said.

It’s not just the health benefits that are earning recognition for the wellness center.

In June, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded it a silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification because of the environmentally friendly measures used in constructing the center.

Those features include obtaining 40 percent of building materials locally, using renewable energy supplies for 35 percent of the building’s electricity and reducing water use by 40 percent with high-efficiency plumbing.

Jeri Brostrom, 84, uses the pool everyday and can’t imagine a better way to stay fit. “I think it’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community,” she said. “That’s when I started loving living here.”

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