When stars from the Lakers, Kings and the PGA need to fix their million-dollar bodies, they go to Centinela Hospital's Fitness Institute in Culver City, which boasts a gym as part of its health evaluation center.

But they apparently don't go there when they just want to work out.

As a result, Centinela is closing its Culver City facility. The Fitness Institute without the gym will be relocated into the Centinela Hospital Airport Medical Clinic, a 24-hour urgent care center near Los Angeles International Airport.

"We're closing the gym we can't compete against the big commercial gyms," said Tara Igoe, head of marketing and public relations at Centinela Hospital in Inglewood, which runs the institute.

She said that the gym will be closed and the rest of the institute moved by the start of October.

The gym currently has room for only 200 people, making it too small to compete against large commercial competitors.

She said that Centinela is making arrangements with the Spectrum Club to take on its gym members.

"We are going to focus on what we do best," Igoe said.

Hospital officials are not expecting any impact on other aspects of their business in particular its sports medicine practice.

"Centinela has such a reputation for orthopedic care that we just take it for granted that these teams will use our care," she said.

The Fitness Institute moved from Centinela's Inglewood campus to Culver City in 1986, and is considered a pioneer in out-patient care.

Above all, the Fitness Center, with its professional sports clientele, is seen as a vital source of income for Centinela, which serves mostly lower-income neighborhoods.

The hospital and its affiliates saw a net income of around $2.6 million in 1996, much of that derived from a network of nine regional clinics stretching from South Bay to West Los Angeles.

Centinela Hospital was founded in 1924, and started the National Health Institute, the predecessor of the Fitness Institute, in 1970.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.