Miller Family Partners with Geisinger Health System and the Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority to Develop New Community Wellness and Recreation Center

Center will Provide Comprehensive Health and Wellness Programs for Area Residents and Enable Community Health Research

LEWISBURG, PA (April 24, 2013) – The Miller family, lifelong residents of Lewisburg and owners of locally based playground and fitness equipment manufacturer, Playworld Systems, Inc., today announced it will develop a state-of-the-art indoor wellness and recreation center for members of the community in partnership with Geisinger Health System and the Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority (formerly Lewisburg Area Recreation Authority - LARA).

The Miller family plans to contribute to build the recreation and wellness center. Geisinger Health System will provide additional funding and wellness programming guidance and jointly develop a wellness and community health research program within the center. The core recreational assets developed for the center will be based on existing Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority (BVRA) programs.

The new wellness and recreation center will be located in the Penn House Commons master planned community being developed by Meridian Development Partners. The 90,000 square-foot building, which once served as a warehouse for La-Z-Boy furniture, is across the street from Lewisburg Recreation Park and alongside the Rail Trail, making it convenient for people throughout Union County.

The vision for the facility includes multiple spaces for a wide array of programs, an indoor field, multi-purpose hard surface courts, activity rooms, and areas for exercise, gymnastics and other sports and fitness activities. Other plans include physical therapy, athletic training and exercise physiology, a healthy food café with a nutrition education center and additional wellness-related programs and amenities.

“Enhancing community wellness through recreation and play has been a core value for our family for generations. It’s the foundation of our family business and the impetus behind our desire to help create a wellness and recreation center for area residents,” said Matthew Miller, CEO of Lewisburg-based Playworld Systems Inc. and father of four. “We are thrilled to partner with Geisinger and BVRA to enhance the health and well-being of those who live in the area. We are excited to create a community resource that will provide healthy lifestyle choices for families and individuals.”

The indoor center’s centralized activities will make fitness, wellness programs, and recreation easily accessible and available to residents year-round.

"We are excited to partner with community leaders and organizations to develop this new center because it aligns with our mission to address common, chronic health issues such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Such issues deserve significantly more research to reduce their prevalence and negative impacts on quality of life," said David H. Ledbetter, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Geisinger Health System. “This center will provide a unique opportunity to explore strategies for weight loss, improve eating habits and change the role of exercise in the health and wellness of individuals in our community. Our role in this initiative further expands our commitment to addressing the community health needs in central Pennsylvania."

The partners have engaged Sports Facilities Advisory (SFA), the world’s leading resource for new and existing sports complexes and recreation centers, to develop an actionable plan to create the recreation center. The partnership will work with SFA to create a revenue model that will sustain the community center on its own financial merits. In the coming months the group will gather community input and secure the remaining funds. Suggestions and questions regarding the new wellness and recreation center can be submitted online at millerrecandwellnesscenter.com.

“BVRA spent the last several years building out its programming and already offers a diverse set of activities for all ages and interests,” said Jim Mathias, chairman of BVRA and a consultant on the recreation and wellness project. “Our ability to improve and expand those offerings has been hampered by the availability of suitable, local space. BVRA currently utilizes approximately 25 separate facilities for its programming and this new recreation center will allow us to centralize our operations, realize significant economies of scale and most importantly, improve the experience of all of our customers. The BVRA staff is extremely excited about all the possibilities this project presents and is grateful to the Miller Family and Geisinger Health System for both their vision and monetary support.”

The wellness and recreation center will sustain BVRA’s broader programming objectives for the future.

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About The Miller Family
For more than 40 years and three generations, the Miller family has been dedicated to making a positive impact on the health and well-being of people around the world. The family’s Lewisburg-based company, Playworld Systems Inc., manufactures playground and fitness equipment to create the best play spaces for people of all ages and abilities. The recreation center project represents the family’s commitment to improve health and wellness services and opportunities to citizens living throughout Union County.

About Geisinger Health System
Geisinger Health System is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development of innovative care models such as ProvenHealth Navigator® and ProvenCare®. As the nation’s largest rural health services organization, Geisinger serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. The physician-led system is comprised of more than 20,000 employees, including a 1,000-member multi-specialty group practice, six hospital campuses, two research centers and the 400,000-member Geisinger Health Plan, all of which leverage an estimated $5.5 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania economy. The health system and the health plan have repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit Geisinger. Follow the latest Geisinger news and more at Twitter and Facebook.

About BVRA
The Buffalo Valley Recreation Authority was created by adjoining Union County municipalities, the Borough of Lewisburg and East Buffalo Township and operates as an independent entity. BVRA operates a community pool, a playground and park, a seasonal ice rink, a skate park and a nine-mile rail trail and offers a broad variety of recreational and educational programming geared to the well-being of the entire community.

Media contacts:
Rosemary Ostmann
Rose Communications for The Miller Family
Office: 201-656-7178 ext. 201
Mobile: 201-615-7751
rostmann@rosecomm.com

Amanda O'Rourke
Geisinger Health System
Office: 570-214-9091
Mobile: 570-452-5422
akorourke@geisinger.edu

Jim Mathias
BVRA
Office: 570-524-4774
Mobile: 570 412 5788
jimjpm@gmail.com