Crowded programs, insufficient space for members and an aging facility has prompted the need for a new YMCA in Warsaw.
The YMCA has been an important part of family life in Kosciusko County for more than 50 years. As the community grows, so has programs, services and facilities.
Community leaders confirm a new YMCA, also know as the Y, is needed in the county.
“Our current facility can’t keep up with the needs of our growing community,” said Mike Coon, YMCA board chairman. “Heavy usage and overcrowding has taken a toll on the building. Community needs gave changed and grown, and the current facility cannot meet those needs.”
The Y has been serving the community for the past 50 years. The Y opened in 1965 and started out as a natatorium. “Since then, the Y has been expanded six times,” said Chad Zaucha, CEO of the Y. “So, now we are land-locked.”
A capital campaign to build a new Y is underway and Parkview Health has already teamed with the local Y (see story). The $13.1 million campaign will help build the new, state-of-the-art building. Its “Shaping The Future” capital campaign will help the Y meet the community’s needs today and tomorrow. This is a one-time campaign, said Zaucha, adding, “We have $12.1 million already. We still need $1 million.”
Membership continues to grow at a rapid pace. There are 15,300 visits per month. The new Y will be able to serve 12,000 members, a 50 percent increase over today. Zaucha confirmed that membership has grown from 7,000 to 8,300 people in the past two years.
No one is turned away due to the inability to pay, therefore, financial assistance is available. Last year, the annual campaign made it possible for the Y to waive $136,686 in membership and program fees for families to be involved in YMCA programs. Thirteen military families received free membership.
The new Y will be 70,000 square feet. “It will be 64 percent larger than our current facility,” said Zaucha. The new facility will be handicapped-accessible, whereas the current facility is not, he noted. It will feature a healthy living facilities that will include an 8,500-square-foot health and wellness center, two group exercise studios, and a teaching kitchen. The kitchen area will be used for cooking classes.
A new indoor aquatics center will feature a six-lane lap pool and a warm water and therapy instruction pool. The therapy pool will double in size and the lap pool will increase by one third. There will be two additional lap lanes.
A gathering and program space for all ages will feature multi-purpose rooms and a youth teen center. There will be two program spaces instead of one.
A double gymnasium will have adult, family/special needs and youth locker rooms.
Instead of one gym there will be two and there will be eight locker rooms, including a family locker room. There will also be a multi-purpose room. “We don’t have one now,” said Zaucha. “The lobby will be bigger and there will be a chapel, too.”
A one-mile greenway will be used for biking, running, and walking. Outdoors fields will be used for a summer day camp. The second floor will feature a larger, indoor running track.