WILMINGTON, DE — Eastern Athletic Clubs LLC has begun construction on its 119,000-square-foot Hockessin Athletic Club, which will be one of the nation's largest family health clubs when it opens in spring 2007.

The club's location and pre-development land-use planning are part of a joint public-private effort to maximize green space in surrounding Tweed's Park, a state park in Delaware. Fitness club members and public visitors to the state park's soccer fields, continuous pathway system and the historic 18th century Tweed's Tavern will share a parking deck with more than 300 spaces.

Bob Carpenter, owner of Delaware's Pike Creek Fitness Club, and Roger Ralph, former owner of Bel Air Athletic Club in Harford County, MD, are partners in Eastern Athletic Clubs LLC.

The club will offer a licensed preschool, before-and-after school areas, a café and a community conference room, as well as gymnastics, dance and martial arts studios, which can be used for free children's classes. In addition, the facility will include a hot yoga studio, state-of-the-art group exercise and fitness areas, a competition outdoor swimming pool and a 17,500-square-foot aquatic complex with a lap pool, a therapy pool and a beach-entry leisure pool with a 35-foot-high slide. The aquatic complex will feature an energy-saving comfort radiant heated pool deck housed under a glass structure with a retractable roof.