Dedham Health and Athletic Complex in Dedham, Mass.
By Emily Tipping
or more than 30 years, Lloyd and Roberta Gainsboro have been ahead of the curve—introducing innovations to the health club market long before they hit the mainstream. From their first self-serve tennis club, which opened in 1972, the Gainsboros have built up their business, and now own and operate the impressive, 240,000-square-foot Dedham Health and Athletic Complex, located on about eight acres in Dedham, Mass.
The facility includes a 25,000-square-foot fitness center, 11 indoor tennis courts, basketball and racquetball courts, multiple swimming pools, a climbing wall, boxing studio and more. But that's just the beginning. The site also features medical offices, from primary care to MRI—offering a full array of wellness options to members and the community at large.
According to Lloyd Gainsboro, the facility is made up of four main areas: adult fitness and recreation, family fitness and fun, medical services, and summer program and camp.
The Gainsboros' first tennis club, Econo Tennis in Walpole, Mass., led to other clubs in Massachusetts, and eventually, Dedham. During Jimmy Carter's administration, Gainsboro said, they saw the writing on the wall. They broke up their partnership, and decided to concentrate full-time on the Dedham facility.
At that point, they began focusing on five-year plans, building and expanding—and often innovating in ways that might now be considered ahead of their time. For example, the Dedham facility began partnering with the medical community in the late '80s—beating a trend that is just now beginning to be celebrated widely.
"We continued to build and continued to add, and in 1988-89, Roberta decided that the medical system at the time wasn't working, as it's not now, and that we should become part of the medical community," Gainsboro said. They introduced a physical therapy component, and then in 1996, added an entire medical community, remodeled the building and added 12,000 to 14,000 square feet of office space, including space for MRI, primary care physicians, an orthopaedic surgeon and more.
And they continue to expand and improve their facility, including a recent remodel of about 3,000 square feet of fitness space. One of the tough choices in this area, Gainsboro said, was the flooring.
"Fitness flooring is one of the hardest areas to manage," he said. "If you use carpet, people sweat on it, and unless you clean it every night, I hate to think what's in it. If you go with basic black or a hard rubber floor, everything shows. So, we've looked at using combinations."