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Elwood family to support restoration of Franklin College Fitness Center

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John and Amber (Robbins) ’99 Elwood-Courtesy-Franklin College

FRANKLIN, Ind. – Franklin College has received a naming gift commitment from Amber (Robbins) and John Elwood of Columbus, to support the restoration and renovation of the Franklin College Fitness Center. The updated facility will be renamed the Elwood Fitness Center.

“It is with immense gratitude that I recognize the incredible impact this generous support from the Elwood family will have on the student experience at Franklin College. John and Amber have been such loyal advocates for many college initiatives, and this lead gift will help ensure the success of the Fitness Center project,” said Kerry N. Prather, president of Franklin College.

“Franklin College played a pivotal role in shaping my personal growth and professional journey,” said Amber. “It served as a gateway to a multitude of academic and social avenues and provided for growth and exploration. John and I are thrilled to be able to give back to the college that has given us so much.”

Amber is a 1999 graduate of Franklin College. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education from Olivet University. She retired last year from Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. in Columbus, after 24 years of teaching. She currently serves on the Franklin College Board of Trustees.

John serves as chief executive officer (CEO) of Elwood Staffing headquartered in Columbus. He is a 1993 graduate of Indiana University Bloomington and holds a bachelor’s degree in business. He joined Elwood Staffing in 1996 and became CEO in 2021.

The Fitness Center was constructed in the early 1900s and expanded in the 1920s to accommodate the larger crowds. The 19,425-square-foot facility is currently used for limited practice activities. It is not air-conditioned and includes a synthetic playing court (not collegiate length) and one batting cage. The lower level of the building once housed an indoor pool and the entire physical education and athletic department but is now only used for storage.

The planned renovation will preserve and improve the exterior of the historic building while retaining its architectural integrity. The interior space will be transformed into a modern, functional space for students to pursue fitness, recreational, and athletic activities. The gymnasium will be restored primarily for recreational use.

The lower level of the building will be renovated to provide an office, locker room, and support service areas for the football, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s lacrosse teams that compete in Faught Stadium across the street.

Read the whole story on the Franklin College website, here.

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