Expansion projected for East Lycoming YMCA
MUNCY – In less than eight years the East Lycoming YMCA outgrew its current facility built in 2008 for 6.5 million dollars. By 2012 the growth rate surpassed all expectations and now the executive board has declared its exploration for an expansion project.
Last week they announced to the public at two consecutive meetings, February 25 and 26, a conceptual design for a 15,500 sq. foot addition. Two years ago a survey was developed to seek input from staff, members and administrators. Over 300 responses came back according to Michael Getz who explained the details of the design and sought feedback from the public and the business community in order to meet community needs.
“This is a visual layout of what we’re looking to do, not a confirmed plan,” Getz said. “It is important the design and layout is sustainable for future use.”
Located in Muncy Township, the building was first built without assuming any debt. “We want the expansion to go with little or no debt, and have the ability to pay for itself every year,” Getz said. There are consistent revenue streams like membership fees, leases to STEP, Inc. and Susquehanna Health. There has not been a severe drop-off from memberships, even though the gas industry has slowed somewhat since 2012. Besides Eastern Lycoming County, the ELYMCA serves Sullivan and parts of Northumberland County.
The board also expressed the need for more child care services, an area they consider underserved. Expanding classroom space and making allowances for special needs children, will also create a long term revenue stream. “Our child care is always over 98 percent utilization,” Getz explained with a high degree of confidence.
In summary, the membership use has outgrown the program space. Availability has become limited because the facility is being used for other special programs or group exercise classes. “Our shortcut was that it was not large enough.”
Board member Geneva Peck expressed the need for “dual purpose rooms” for multiple uses and more programming space. “This is the largest Silver Sneakers program in the state by use here at this Y.”
Space is also needed in the locker rooms and the child care space should be doubled. There are two ways to expand. “We can add on to the north side of the building or to the south.”
Two community rooms are included on the first floor and a kitchen which can be rented to accommodate groups and parties. The new wellness center will be 25 percent larger and located on the second level with a much larger free weight area.
A “junior high” size gym will be added and two gym areas can be used for multi purposes. Some of the survey responses stated a desire for “teen space.”
The pool area will include provisions for spectators. Parents like to watch swim team events and the pool area is always active, so the other side of the pool will include an expanded area with two levels. “This will double the space with one foundation.” An added elevator could be an extra expense.
The total expansion space will be 19,600 sq. feet added to the existing 48,000 sq. feet at an expexted cost of 3.5 million dollars. Much of the expense will be for interior renovations in existing areas.
“We want to minimize the risk as much as possible,” Getz added. “If funds aren’t available, we’ll do something less expensive.” The Y will remain open during the construction phase and the goal is to start construction in 2016.
The project is expected to go out for architechtural bid soon. The design can be seen at the facility in the existing wellness area located on 50 Fitness Drive, Muncy. When the time comes, the community will be asked by sub-committee members for their generosity as well. Other board members are Fred Springman, Board Chair, John Fry, and Garth Everett.