Spades of gold symbolically speared earth in Chandler on June 18 at the groundbreaking ceremony at Ocotillo for the first Village Health Club and Spa in the East Valley.

Located at 4200 S. Alma School Road, the 82,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in April 2015. The club will offer its members access to two pools, seven tennis courts, full spa services, salon and med spa, a café featuring an outdoor patio, kids club and nursery, kids gym, locker rooms, an indoor basketball court, hot and traditional yoga studios, an indoor running track, two racquetball and squash courts, cardio and weight training rooms, and Pilates, spin and group fitness studios.

DMB Associates Inc. founding partner Bennett Dorrance said the new club will employ more than 200 part-time and full-time employees.

The project was originally planned in 2007, she said, but economic conditions delayed construction and further planning.

“It’s nice to see the facility come into fruition,” said Mayor Jay Tibshraeny said, “this is a good addition to all of Chandler, especially south Chandler with all the industry on ‘Price Row.’ It’s something our community hasn’t experienced before.”

Men in business suits and women in khakis and blouses sat in the shade of the white banquet tent on the construction site.

Construction vehicles bordered the back section of the tent and a large mound of dirt blocked the view of a small lake that would border the new club.

Carol Nalevanko, president of The Village Clubs, welcomed attendees to the groundbreaking ceremony for the first Village Club in the East Valley, even though they had already broken quite a bit of ground, she said. City officials and community members were in attendance such as Tibshraeny, council members Nora Ellen, Kevin Hartke, Jack Sellers and Jeff Weninger, Dorrance and fellow founding partner Mark Sklar, and DMB Executive Vice President Michael Debell.

“Everybody that’s here has played a really big part in getting this thing off the shelf — dusting it off and getting ready to go,” Nalevanko said.

Behind the construction site are the back decks of a housing development overlooking the lake on the opposite side.

Dorrance said this housing section and neighboring developments would provide the club with future members. He said the neighboring community offers a strong foundation for potential club members.

“It’s a social experience,” Debell said, “it’s one that strives to bring community together. As we go forward, I think you’ll be part of our community as much as we are a part of yours.”

Ocotillo will offer future members a reduced charter member price beginning in September. The club hopes to gain 1,500 memberships prior to opening, Nalevanko said.

“I have that tattooed somewhere I can’t mention,” she added.

There are three other Village club locations in the greater Phoenix area: Camelback Village Racquet & Health Club at 4444 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix; DC Ranch Village Health Club & Spa at 18501 N. Thompson Peak Parkway in Scottsdale; and Gainey Village Health Club & Spa at 7477 E. Doubletree Ranch Road in Scottsdale.

A free seven-day trial membership is available at the three locations.

For more information about the opening and existing clubs, visit

• Sam Gauvain is a junior at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is an intern with the Tribune this semester. Reach her at

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