CHICAGO (CBS) — Members of a southwest suburban hospital health club that’s slated for closing are banding together in an effort to find ways to keep it open.

The Palos Health and Fitness Club closing is part of Palos Community Hospital’s plan to expand its facility in Orland Park on 153rd Street and West Avenue.

Hospital vice president of planning Tim Brosnan said the expanded facility will include more diagnostic services and physician specialties, but there wasn’t room to keep the fitness center.

“It also is requiring us to look at access points to the campus, parking,” he said. “It was a difficult decision on the part of the hospital, but our focus and our priorities really are to provide high quality medical care services to this community.”

Mary Ellen Smolinski said she and other fitness club members are heartbroken about the plan to close the fitness club.

Smolinski said the current facility in Orland Park is “definitely a wellness center.”

“It’s for healthy people trying to stay healthy but it’s also for people that have problems staying healthy,” she said.

She said it’s unique and is the only club in the south and southwest suburbs that has a warm water therapy pool.

“You see people rolling into it in scooters and wheelchairs; people with walkers, canes, people on oxygen right next to healthy people doing Pilates,” she said.

Brosnan said the closest warm water therapy pool to Orland Park is at the Edward-Elmhurt Health and Fitness Center in Woodridge. He said the hospital has lined up alternative fitness centers for the members to switch to—one at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, and another at the Sportsplex in Orland Park.

Smolinski said neither of those options will do, and neither will other health clubs, because they just have “beautiful people who are trying to stay beautiful.”

“We visited several of these and they’ve got treadmill after treadmill after treadmill. I have something similar to MS. I can’t stand on a treadmill,” she said.

She and others planned to speak out before the Illinois Health Facility and Services Review Board, the state agency which must approve the plan before construction can begin. Smolinski said opponents of the plan to close the fitness center have been meeting for the past few days to organize a strategy.