UPDATE: Let’s just say a ‘concerned citizen’ called me this morning about this project and he asked an interesting question, ‘If the city is purchasing the Wellness center, why didn’t that go thru a RFP process so other private facilities could make an offer if they wanted to?’ I never thought about it, but he is correct, if the city is buying this, where was the RFP? I also got word that AVERA had no clue this was going on.

I have known about this for a few weeks and passed the info onto several journalists that ran into dead ends. Part of the rumor was the city was going to buy Oxbow wellness center, but it was confusing to us because they were currently remodeling. I didn’t find out until yesterday afternoon that it was actually the Tea-Ellis location.

Makes sense though, Sanford can use the purchase revenue to pay for the remodel of Oxbow.

I also knew the purchase price of $9 million and the ‘discount’ they were offering. The Oxbow facility was built in 1988, so we were confused about the big price tag.

And it ain’t a great deal. They are giving us a $6 million dollar discount (according to their appraisals) and we have to spend an additional $3 million to renovate on top of the purchase price.

This is a win-win for Sanford, not so much the citizens. I think they support it, but I also don’t think the administration has the pulse of the community. As a well known business person told me a few years ago about the mayor, he is ‘tone deaf.’

As I have said, the administration never learns.

Also a foot soldier who is a member at the Oxbow facility got this email from Sanford at 10:25 AM, 5 minutes before the announcement;

Tea-Ellis Announcement

Valued member,  

This morning at 10:30, the City of Sioux Falls will announce its proposed plan to purchase the Sanford Wellness Center – Tea-Ellis location.

Should the proposed purchase go through, the City will continue to operate the facility as an indoor health, wellness and recreational programming space. We will also maintain our current physical therapy presence at the Tea-Ellis location as it is today.

Furthermore, Sanford Health will continue to operate the Oxbow Wellness Center and continue to invest in medical and wellness services.

We are thrilled to be able to partner with the City of Sioux Falls in this way, as our common goal is to do what we can to provide opportunities and services to keep our communities healthy and thriving.

This proposal is in the very early stages; however, we wanted to make our members aware and allow them plenty of opportunities to ask questions and join the conversation about this potential transition.

Here are a few details we know now:

  • If the proposed purchase is successful, the City plans to take over operations of Tea-Ellis in late 2024 and no later than Jan. 1, 2025.
  • Until then, Sanford Health will continue to operate Tea-Ellis as normal.
  • In the coming months, the City will be able to share specific information about membership rates, amenities and programs that will be available at their facility.
  • Current Wellness Center members can continue to use the Oxbow and Tea-Ellis facilities as they do now. 
  • At this time, our fee structure, hours of operation and programs will not change. Throughout the transition, we will reevaluate this.
  • Oxbow renovations to the pool and locker rooms will continue as planned with an anticipated completion in fall 2024.

As more details are finalized, Sanford Health and the City of Sioux Falls will communicate updates as soon as possible.

You can tune in to the media briefing live through the City of Sioux Falls Facebook page or YouTube channel, or view the recording after the briefing on the City’s One Sioux Falls playlist

We’re very proud of the wellness community we’ve built at both Sanford Wellness Center locations. The decision to pursue this proposal was not made quickly or lightly. We do believe that continuing to focus our efforts toward more medically based health care services while maintaining a fitness option will be a great benefit to our patients and community members alike.

As always, thank you for choosing Sanford Wellness Center to be part of your health journey.

Be Well, 

Steve Young, president, Sanford Sports
Mike Davidson, general manger, Sanford Wellness Center


The ‘excuse’ the administration has been using to keep this quiet so long is that they didn’t want the Sanford employees getting upset over losing their jobs. Huh? That may still happen Poops.

They make up so much sh!t I’m starting to think the mayor is the one polluting the Big Poo and not CommieFields.

6 Thoughts on “UPDATE: City of Sioux Falls Aquatic Bond details

  1. DontBemad on April 17, 2024 at 3:31 pm said:

    We have the worst parks department in the nation in sioux falls, best to have Safe Swim or Great life manage this because otherwise will be a train wreck as usual

  2. Warren Phear on April 17, 2024 at 7:37 pm said:

    Was working out there today when I seen a camera guy out front. Figured it was for a commercial shoot. Wrong. Surprise for sure. Wife and I will stick around until we find out more about what lies ahead. Not at all optimistic about this. I see a lot of roadblocks ahead. First one? The minute I hear any of their current staff is offered anything less than what they currently have…we are gone. In less than 60 seconds. They have a great staff.

  3. D@ily Spin on April 17, 2024 at 7:40 pm said:

    As usual, citizens had no clue and certainly no vote. 70 million gets spent like 70 cents. Isn’t this folly rather close to the Midco Swim Scam? Uh, kids are on the East side and there’s no ready access across town. When it comes to city planners, to many happy hours.

  4. Taylor on April 19, 2024 at 11:22 am said:

    Eating my popcorn waiting for this disaster of a transition to unfurl after uneducated council members vote yes to this

  5. scott on April 19, 2024 at 6:12 pm said:

    neitzert was just on tv claiming he doesn’t know how he’s going to vote on this. that was pretty funny.

  6. Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on April 21, 2024 at 10:39 am said:

    Didn’t the Y own this before Sanford, and now us? So, doesn’t that make us the third wife? #WhenIsTheThirdWifeEverCredible?

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