Medina Journal-Register — The Orleans County YMCA is ushering in 2014 by getting started on a new era.
“We’ve officially started the interior construction on our capital improvement project,” said Jeff Winters, the YMCA’s executive director. The main focus of construction will be a wall that will separate the gymnasium from the rest of the building.
“This accomplishes two things,” Winters explained.
“First, it creates different climate zones for us, because heating the gym can be a nightmare. Having different zones makes heating it easier,” he said.
“The second purpose is to create a lobby area,” Winters continued. He mentioned how in visits to YMCAs across the state most of them have large lobbies where members gather to socialize.
“It’s the one thing we’re missing because right now our lobby is pretty much a hallway,” he said. “What we’re looking to do is create a place where our members can gather socially, play cards, or drink coffe.
“A lot of people who come to the YMCA, whether they’re part of a senior group or they’re coming to work out, they come to socialize as well,” Winters noted. “The larger lobby will accommodate them.”
Once the wall is done, the gym floor will be refinished. In an earlier stage of the project it was discovered that the gym floor was a softer wood than found in more modern facilities. At the time Winters said replacing the floor would be discussed. Those discussions led to the decision to refinish the floor rather than replace it, as doing the latter proved to be cost prohibitive.
The wall is tentatively scheduled for completion within the next two weeks, and the floor work is penciled in to start on Jan. 13. During the refinishing process, the floor will be painted for both basketball and volleyball courts, as workers will make the floor able to convert from one to the other.
Winters said plans are in place to have all YMCA programs back in full swing by Feb. 10. In the meantime, the only area of the building affected by construction will be the gym/new lobby area.
“No other services are affected by construction,” Winters explained. “Group exercise classes, our wellness programs, and everything else is still running as normal.”
This current phase of the capital project - which also includes the addition of another multipurpose room for exercise classes or birthday parties - costs about $105,000. The original fundraising goal for the project was $400,000, of which $350,000 has already been raised.
Winters said the project is completely worthwhile as it will help keep the YMCA vibrant. However, he did say there have been a few minor “hiccups.”
“We have a fairly old boiler system that made it a little difficult to put a heating and cooling system in the gym, and the sandstone walls have made it difficult to put up the newer interior walls.
“It’s an historic building and it’s a challenge to maintain it,” Winters continued, “but we’re making it work to make sure the YMCA is functional for the people of the area because this is where we want to be.”