Residents, physicians and employees gathered in the lobby of the Wellness Center of Thibodaux Regional Friday afternoon to celebrate the center’s one-year anniversary and the community's response to the facility.

During its first year, there were 350,000 visits to the center and 5,000 fitness classes that had combined attendance of 100,000, CEO Greg Stock said at the celebration.

“When you see a whole family, parents and children, walk in together, that is so gratifying to see,” Stock said.

Last year, the center was projected to have an estimated 1,400 members. Current membership is around 5,400-5,500.

Stock said he especially enjoys when he hears people say the wellness center helped them get their life back or saved their life.

Joshua Turner, a 39-year-old Thibodaux native, said he’s lost 97 pounds and going to the wellness center helped him get his Type-1 diabetes in control.

“If you’re a diabetic, Type-1 or Type-2, there’s hope,” Turner said. “You just got to move, you have to get up and do something. You have to change your eating habits, but there’s hope. Don’t ever give up.”

The $73-million, 242,000-square-foot center was designed to be a hub for preventive care. The center houses several physician specialists including some in neurosurgery and sports medicine, as well as a wellness education center.

There’s also a fitness center and an aquatic center with three pools, including a physical therapy pool with a lowering floor that turns into a treadmill.

The center is being expanded to include 12 tennis courts, four sand volleyball courts, a multi-purpose sports field, an eight-lane running track and other facilities. The expansion project is undergoing a conceptual redesign, and a time frame for construction is expected to be announced in four months, Stock said.

A program to assist those who have been laid off from the oilfield is also in the works. It’s taking longer than expected because the hospital is trying to work with state departments. But it is expected to roll out near the summer, Stock said.

For information on the center, visit fitnesscenterofthibodauxregional.com.

-- Staff Writer Holly Duchmann can be reached at 857-2205 or holly.duchmann@houmatoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @holly_evamarie.