CLEAR LAKE – Adam Long, of Liberty, Missouri, said the tight-knit nature of Clear Lake reminds him of his hometown.
“I grew up in a small community, and I thought it would be great to get in a bigger city, and now I’m here, and holy moly, I’m looking forward to a smaller one where there is a true sense of community,” he said.
The wellness center’s five-member governing board selected Long as the facility’s first executive director in late May after an extensive search and interview process, and he was introduced to the Clear Lake City Council Monday evening during its meeting.
He will lead and manage all facets of the $10.6 million wellness center, which is a collaboration between the City of Clear Lake and the Clear Lake Community School District.
Clear Lake City Administrator Scott Flory said he was convinced Long, who has nearly 20 years of health and wellness experience, was the right choice for the position because of his “cultural fit” for the job and his understanding of the interrelationships with the community and the school district.
“He also impressed me as the type of leader that would be able to motivate a staff and be a health and wellness resource for people of all ages and backgrounds,” he said. “Adam’s passion for Clear Lake and desire to raise his family here were also very important qualities to me.”
Long was among 15 candidates who applied for the wellness center executive director position, including six semi-finalists who interviewed with the Wellness Center Board of Directors via Zoom and two finalists who visited Clear Lake in May.
Clear Lake Community School District Superintendent Doug Gee met Long during his visit last month and he believes he’s a great hire for the position.
“His energy, passion and knowledge of health and fitness along with his experience of working with all ages from young children to senior citizens will be invaluable to getting this facility off to a great start,” Gee said. “He is a perfect fit for the Clear Lake community.
“I believe he and his wife will be actively involved in this community and will fit right in. I also believe he will be a great asset to our coaches and athletes because of his knowledge and experience in strength and conditioning.”
Long is currently the head strength and conditioning coach at Liberty Hospital Sports Medicine. His last day is June 18.
He has a master’s degree in physical education, with an emphasis in health science, from Northwest Missouri State University and he has extensive experience in health and wellness.
Long and his wife, Carlie, and their three children Miller, Evelyn and Waylon will move to Clear Lake later this month.
Long’s wife is an elementary school teacher and has accepted a position with the Clear Lake Community School District for the 2021-2022 school year.
“We are very, very excited,” Long said.
The 81,000-square-foot wellness center, designed by ATURA architecture, is the largest of the construction and improvement projects at the elementary school, middle school and high school facilities funded by the $18 million bond referendum passed by Clear Lake residents in March 2020.
The Clear Lake Board of Education and Clear Lake City Council unanimously approved a 25-year 28E agreement to build, operate and finance the wellness center together last year.
The agreement states the city, which will be responsible for the day-to-day operations at the wellness center, including staffing and cleaning, will be able to charge use fees, program fees and membership fees for use of the facility.
Those fees, programs and employees will be determined by the Wellness Center Board of Directors, including city appointees Mark Ebeling and Carrie Tysdahl, district appointees Tony Brownlee and Vernon Johnson, and Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Stacy Doughan, who was mutually agreed upon by both parties.
Long will assist the city in determining equipment, furniture and programming at the wellness center before it opens later this year.
The wellness center, which was awarded to Dean Snyder Construction, of Clear Lake, is slated for completion in December.
It’s being built on district property south of the high school, north of First Avenue North and west of North 20th Street.
“They are moving along very well,” Gee said. “This facility is going to be a huge asset to Clear Lake Schools and the community. It is going to be really neat to see people of all ages enjoying everything this facility has to offer.”
Long agrees, and although he doesn’t start until June 21, he’s already working to ensure the wellness center exceeds the community’s expectations.
“I already feel a sense of ownership in the facility and want to make sure I’m doing it right even though I have not officially started yet,” he said.
Long, like the city and school district, envision the wellness center as being a multigenerational facility that offers something for everybody in the community.
The wellness center will feature men’s and women’s locker rooms with saunas, three multipurpose studios, an indoor playground, a wrestling room and a weight room, as well as a 47,114-square-foot field house.
The field house will have a 200-meter indoor track, an indoor turf field marked for football and soccer, two hardwood courts and three multipurpose courts divided by retractable curtains.
The second level includes an elevated walking track, a fitness center with cardio and weightlifting equipment and a studio.