Jarmel Kizel Architects & Engineers Inc., in Livingston, is bulking up on fitness and wellness centers in New Jersey, as last week it announced it is working to design a fourth center with Fitness and Wellness Professional Services at the new University Medical Center at Princeton, in Plainsboro.
Matthew Jarmel, principal at the firm, said the projects have kept the company busy and added revenue while the construction industry as a whole has continued to slump.
“These centers are really fascinating because there’s been a tremendous push on fitness and wellness … and how it affects things like insurance rates and people’s health,” Jarmel said, adding that the popularity of wellness centers have increased as insurers create more programs surrounding fitness and preventive care.
In addition to the Plainsboro location, Jarmel Kizel has designed fitness and wellness centers in Maywood and New Brunswick, at the new wellness plaza in conjunction with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
“It’s helped our business quite a bit, and it’s opened the door for us to expand in the overall health care industry,” Jarmel said.
Jarmel said designing these multipurpose centers at hospitals and other institutional locations provides numerous challenges.
“Although it’s one center, there’s a whole bunch of businesses operating under one roof that all have their own needs,” he said. “There’s a health club here, there’s typically a spa, there’s a café, and then there’s the hospital functions like physical therapy and community outreach. … You can have about half a dozen uses within one facility that all share common resources, but all have different needs and requirements.”
Jarmel said access issues — like differentiating from physical therapy patients from health club members — and building the proper infrastructure for several pools in one building are some of the larger challenges.
“There’s also the physical toll. These centers can have upwards of 10,000 members. We expect 1,400 to 1,600 people a day to attend the Princeton facility,” Jarmel said. “When you design it, you have to design it for the heavy traffic.”
He added that working on these projects have created some unintended side benefits for Jarmel Kizel’s staff.
“It’s also helped us motivate ourselves. Some of my staff and myself have focused on the healthy, wellness programs, and I personally lost over 40 pounds in the last year and have been keeping it off. It gets you in the state of mind being around these people,” Jarmel said.