Prairie Life Fitness members can expect upgrades to facilities and a new name plastered on the buildings in the near future.

Owners of Prairie Life fitness centers, which have three Omaha locations, sold the business earlier this month to The Athletic Club.

Members of the clubs, now known as The Athletic Club, won’t see interruptions or changes to their existing memberships, including costs, said Danny DeLaRosa, CEO of The Athletic Club.

Prairie Life members received letters that said the new ownership will invest more than $4 million in upgrades to the facilities in the next four to six months, starting with the location at 132nd Street and West Center Road. Members can expect upgrades to locker rooms and kids facilities, as well as new equipment and saunas.

All locations will see new fitness programming, but some upgrades will vary from club to club, DeLaRosa said. Branding is expected to change within the next month or so.

“They have really, really great clubs,” he said. “Our objective is to build on that.”

Dean Rasmussen, owner and president of Prairie Life, said The Athletic Club approached his company a few months ago about purchasing seven of the fitness centers, which are in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. The two sides negotiated a deal and closed on July 1 for an undisclosed amount.

“We’ve had a terrific run,” Rasmussen said. “It’s been a great community to do business in, specifically in regards to the fitness industry. I’ve had a great ride and hopefully this group will continue on with operating a successful fitness business.”

The purchase included the three Omaha locations, as well as the club at 70th and A Streets in Lincoln, two in Kansas and one in Des Moines.

Rasmussen said two locations, which are independently operated, were not included in the deal.

The Athletic Club will be based in Omaha. It’s a separate corporation from partners called Tru Fit Athletic Clubs, which have more than 35 locations in Colorado and Texas, DeLaRosa said.

The new owners plan on keeping the same management teams at the facilities. The locations feature traditional gym offerings, personal training and group exercise classes, as well as indoor and outdoor pools. The gyms are also family-friendly, featuring swim lessons and athletic programs. New memberships will start at $49 a month, he said.

Rasmussen and Bob Kerrey, former Nebraska governor and senator, opened the first Prairie Life location in 1985 in Lincoln. The two opened a second facility in Omaha five years later.

Kelsey covers health and fitness for The World-Herald. Follow her on Twitter @kels2. Phone: 402-444-3100.

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