When the Hermiston Athletic Club opens, it will be the first gym in Oregon to have a Parisi speed school, according to its manager.

The gym, set to open Monday, July 27, boasts the regular amenities of an athletic club, with added extras, such as the Parisi speed school, a program designed to help athletes improve their speed and endurance.

“There isn’t something like this clear to California,” Roger Adams, manager at the athletic club, said. “And Hermiston, Oregon, is going to have that.”

According to Adams, the Parisi school trains professional athletes. He said the school has trained professional basketball players, NFL players, college football players and other high-level athletes.

At the Parisi speed room, people will be able to do resistance training, side shuffles, sprints and backpedals, among other training and conditioning. They also have a vertical tester and a full assessment program that they run athletes through.

“We’re excited about having this here,” he said. “We have people from as far as the Tri-Cities and Yakima talking about coming out.”

Adams said the gym overall has some great tools to help create great athletes that want to take it to the next step.

“Hopefully, we’ll see athletes break through to that Division I level,” he said.

The Hermiston Athletic Club sits on the site of the former Columbia Court Club, which was gutted by a fire in 2016. The owners of that gym originally planned to reopen, but after two years of arguing with their insurance company, owner Steve Watkinds eventually told the Hermiston Herald he had decided to sell.

The new owners then experienced delays of their own during the process of extensively remodeling the damaged building.

COVID-19 has also posed some challenges for the facility, including delaying their opening and causing the club to modify some plans in terms of social distancing. This means all contact sports will have to be postponed until it is safe to resume.

“We still have to follow social distancing,” Adams said. “We need to be safe, so that means no contact sports for right now. We want to train, but we want to do it as safely as possible until we all get through the tough times we’re in right now.”

He said they are following the governor’s orders. Clients will have to wear masks when they initially walk in, but they can remove them once they start exercising. They also ask all visitors to maintain at least 6 feet of distance and limit physical contact. Adams said there will be signs to remind people of these rules as they come in. He said the facility will be cleaned nighty using a professional cleaning crew and a fogger machine.

Juan Cardoza, a potential member of the gym who recently stopped by for a visit, said he’s most excited about the quality of the gym and its amenities, especially the basketball court.

“The quality of the gym, like I was saying to the manager, can produce some more successful athletes; there’s really no excuse with all of this equipment,” Cardoza said.

Although there are equipment and programs designed for athletes, Adams said he wants to emphasize that the gym is for everyone interested in improving their health and wellness.

“We want to be all-inclusive and we want everyone to be welcome here, but we also wanted to do something a little bit different,” he said. “We want to have people be inspired and motivated and be better, whether it’s athletes or everyday people.”

The athletic club has several amenities, from a private group training room to indoor track. There will be a group fitness area, offering a full lineup of classes, such as Zumba, yoga, spin and barre. The club will also have a gaming area with consoles, such as Xbox.

Adams said they plan to have volleyball camps and other skills camps led by professional college coaches, as well as dodgeball tournaments, laser tag nights and other similar events to get the community involved.

“We are going to try to be as active in the community as we possibly can and get some fun programs,” he said. “We really want this to be a culture of fun and a good environment that improves people’s health and fitness.”

For more information, visit hermistonathleticclub.com.

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