Making a Big Splash at Leonardtown Campus

CSM Dedicates Leonardtown Wellness and Aquatics Center

The College of Southern Maryland officially dedicated the Wellness and Aquatics Center located on its Leonardtown Campus with a ‘Big Splash’ celebration Sept. 28.

The 32,000-square-foot facility and the fourth building on the Leonardtown Campus has a fitness room, two wellness studios, a lap pool, and a zero-depth-entry therapy pool. Use of the center is free for registered credit students and memberships are available for individuals and families. The center provides classes for all ages and abilities including a seven-level ‘Learn to Swim’ program. 

The collaboration of ideas for architecture, structure and usage by the “3-Cs”–county, college and community that made up the Wellness Center Advisory Committee

—led to the project’s support and its ultimate success, said CSM Board of Trustees Chair Mary Krug.

Longtime efforts of partners at the local, county and state levels included funding of $12.5 million shared by the state of Maryland (75 percent) and St. Mary’s County (25 percent).

The project architects Grimm and Parker and the contractors J.A. Scheibel Construction completed the project on time and on budget, according to CSM Vice President and Dean of the Leonardtown Campus Dr. F. J. Talley.

The center opened for students and for classes Sept. 7 with fitness and aquatics exercise classes for credit and non-credit students.

The facility’s fitness center is named in recognition of St. Mary’s Hospital who, as part of the college’s major gifts campaign provided $100,000 support for the nursing and healthcare initiative.

“We’re not just a place of book learning,” said Krug. “Our concern is the whole person: intellect, career preparation, recreation and social experience, lifetime learning, and health and wellbeing.”

“Though the word ‘community’ is no longer a part of the college name, I remind friends and neighbors that this new facility is for all the community, not just the young, but the young at heart. With the ever-increasing cost of healthcare as well as the on-going shortage of doctors, it is becoming imperative for each of us to assume more responsibility in taking care of our bodies and minds the best we can,” said Stephen L. Raley of Leonardtown as part of the program. Raley has enrolled in CSM’s fitness classes since 2007 and is among the 60 who were enrolled in the fall’s continuing education classes at the center.

“CSM offers many opportunities for us elder citizens to enrich and enjoy our post-employment years—and this is the jewel in that crown,” said Krug. “From little ones just learning to swim, to us more seasoned folks looking to keep both brains and bodies active and healthy, this is your place. Enjoy.”

For information on Wellness and Aquatics Center memberships, credit or non-credit classes, visit or call 240-725-5370.




Continuing Education Student Stephen L. Raley

“At the rate I’m going I may the first student to get an associate’s degree in aerobics,” said CSM continuing education student Stephen L. Raley.

            Raley was on hand two years ago at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Leonardtown Wellness and Aquatics Center and returned Sept. 28 to provide the student perspective during the center's dedication ceremony.

            In 2007, Raley got one of those so-called ‘wake-up calls.’ His heart was out of rhythm and he was prompted by his physician to get to Washington Hospital Center for treatment. Along with electric shocks to re-set his heart rhythm and medications, Raley was instructed to start an exercise program. 

            “I started by walking,” Raley said. “Then that got boring and I wanted to diversify.”

            Raley found a CSM continuing education brochure and picked a class that looked interesting. “I began taking an aerobics class with an outstanding teacher Megan McNamara as well as using the college gym,” he said adding that he continues to take the same course most semesters. “Between the added exercise and adjustments in my eating habits, my health is good and I have been able to hold my weight at 190 [pounds].” And, he has come off some of the medications that his doctor said he would need to take for the rest of his life, he said. “Before I went in the hospital, I was almost 240 [pounds].”

When he registered for aerobics, he told the instructor that he was worried that he would be ‘the old geezer’ in the class. “Most students in the classes are younger,” he reported, “but there are always a few my age.”

            “Yes, attending the College of Southern Maryland has helped me to stay healthy physically–and mentally, too. Being around the younger generation, I have expanded my horizons by learning to ‘text’, by joining Facebook and by buying an iPod.” With the purchase of a Smartphone recommended by a 20-something fellow student, Raley feels he will become “really smart”—and pretty hip, too.