When Highline Club in Burien, Wash. recently remodeled its facility, more than just changing “the look” was in mind. Dropping the “athletic” from its former title, Highline Athletic Club, was also a part of the plan.
“We wanted people to feel a part of more than just an ‘athletic club,’” explained Kelly Turner, the leader of membership services at Highline Club. “We revamped our name and logo for our 25th anniversary, which we celebrated in February 2014.”
Centrally located in the same location since its inception in 1989, Highline is next to Burien’s high school, hospital and airport. As a result, it has become a central aspect of the community. It often participates in school auctions and charity fundraisers, as well as local health and wellness events or races.
In addition to sponsoring events outside the club, there are opportunities for members to connect inside Highline Club as well. “We offer quarterly member mixers where new members can meet our existing members and get acquainted to the club,” explained Turner.
With such a strong community influence, Highline wanted to redesign its facilities to match that effort. “We were after designing a club that was focused on the social aspect, and making the club so much more than just a place to exercise, but a place to congregate with friends and co-workers,” explained Turner. “We felt focusing on the social aspect, with a community feel, would help foster the feeling of belonging to the club and belonging to a community.”
The redesigned facility separates the equipment into different rooms so that members aren’t crowded into one big space. Some of the rooms included are a cardio room, a free-weight room, a selectorized-equipment room and a functional room filled with functional training accessories (such as TRX training and battle ropes). “The individual rooms, as opposed to one big warehouse, keeps people from feeling ‘on display,’” said Turner.
In addition, members have access to an indoor running track overlooking the sports courts, and a full-fledged Pilates studio for group or private instruction.
The members at Highline appreciate quality in service, in the programs and in the facility. With this in mind, every aspect of the members’ needs was put into consideration when redesigning Highline. “It’s easy to leave a club, but harder to leave friends and a community,” said Turner. “We wanted members to want to not only workout here, but hang out with friends over a cup of coffee or sandwich when we had them. So many people work from home or don’t have offices, so we wanted to see them bringing their laptop and sitting in our social areas, even if they didn’t come in to workout.”
The new design is more conducive to a community appeal. “The layout really encourages people to stay as long as they would like,” said Turner. “You have the ability to sit in a comfy leather couch and watch the pickle ball and basketball games. Soak, steam, workout, chat with friends, play a game of cards in the lobby, grab a snack, repeat — there’s really no reason to leave!”
Although the remodel has been an important aspect of how Highline Club grows, it isn’t all about the look. “We pride ourselves on getting to know every member on a first-name basis and their personal workout preferences,” said Turner. “Everything from the front desk having your towel ready for you before you enter the door, to singing happy birthday, to calling and checking in when we see a member hasn’t been in in a while.”
Every update that Highline makes, from the name and logo to the remodeled facility, is for its members to feel like they are a part of a community — the Highline Club community.
By Maggie Cunningham