After hitting their campaign goal of raising $25 million to build a new facility, the Jackson YMCA is ready to take their next steps in a project to bring a new facility to the area.
“I’m so proud of our volunteers and our leadership team that have brought us to this point,” CEO Shawna Tello said. “It hasn’t been easy, but I’ll say one thing that we felt as an organization going through the pandemic, it just reinforced how much Jackson appreciates its YMCA.”
It starts with the demolition of two external properties in their parking lot on the corner of Wesley and Mechanic streets to create additional space for parking.
In late 2021, the Jackson YMCA announced it was pivoting from all-new construction to a combination of a new build and redevelopment of the current facility.
Tello said the cost of the project went from an estimated $20 million to $22 million when they launched the campaign in 2017, all the way to $33 million when the final bids came in. They said it was from the rising costs of labor and an increase in cost of materials.
“The board made the difficult decision to reevaluate the project and go back to the drawing board,” Tello said. “What we learned with a lot of guidance from our construction manager and our architectural and design team was that the value of the existing facility had actually gone up significantly, especially steel and masonry and so as a result of the increased value of the envelope of the building, we were able to significantly reduce the cost of the project by going with the combination of redevelopment and new construction.”
Some notable new features will include natural lighting to make the facility brighter, a new kids area by doubling the current climbing wall, a new play space and an outdoor play structure.
Plans call for a youth science, technology, arts and math lab and licensed childcare as well as an enhanced aquatics center with updated equipment and improved accessibility.
They will also be retaining two racquetball courts.
“We’ll be adding a third floor to the building that goes all the way up to the track,” Tello said. “So, if you’ve ever seen our track and the small, spiral staircases that take you up to the track, you know how important full accessibility to the track is. We’ll also be adding a universal locker room, which is really exciting for families and folks with limited mobility. It’ll be an expansive space with individual units containing a sink, toilet and shower providing a lot of privacy but also a lot of room to navigate and safely access the aquatics area.”
Officials hope to have the work completed by the end of 2024. Certain areas will more than likely close temporarily during the project.
“We’ll do everything in our power to communicate with all of our members about these closures specifically the aquatics area,” Tello said. “When it’s time to do the more extensive work on the pool, we’ll need to close for a few days, but we’re working with community partners to ensure that our members do have access to a pool during that time.”
Tello will continue to hold community coffee hours to answer questions about the capital campaign, Y memberships, programming and other topics.
The next meeting will be Thursday, Sept. 22, at 9 a.m., followed by Thursday, Oct. 20, at noon and Thursday, Nov. 17, at 4 p.m.
To look at the project designs click here.
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