Unpredictable winter weather may have stalled construction on phase one of Washington’s new YMCA building, but CEO Amy Schulte is optimistic construction can begin later in the month.
Phase one will consist of a full-sized gym, an elevated walking track, a community room, youth room, senior center, fitness rooms, weight and cardio areas and a dedicated spin room. Schulte says the total cost of phase one is $9.6 million and the Y is currently $745,000 away from having it entirely paid for.
“We’re moving into the phase where we’ll be talking to our contractors that we’ve been working with about in-kind donations to see if some of the gap that we have can be reduced,” she said.
For example, Schulte said one in-kind donation they are sure of is KCTC donating $15,000 worth of labor for the installation of telecommunications. She said the Y is actively speaking to other contractors to try to get materials at cost, for example, to help reduce the amount of money still owed for the project.
Schulte said about 10 of the 37 contractors on board with the project are from the Washington County area and she is excited to be able to employ local talent for the new build.
“We want to be able to support the community the way the community has supported us,” she said.
The goal was to have all the money raised before construction began, but they decided to move forward with construction with the goal of having the fundraising for phase one completed by the end of the summer.
“Our goal was to have everything raised before we started construction,” she said. “Obviously we wanted to start before winter, so we went ahead and took a chance because we have such a small gap.”
According to the contract, phase one is set to be completed by May of 2020 and Schulte is optimistic this can happen.
“Originally with our timeline, they said that they would start back up with construction March 13. I think Mother Nature is going to change that timeline a bit for us, but we’re still hoping that by end of March they can start with some of the site grading,” she said. “If we can start by April I don’t think we’ll be too far behind on that time frame.”
Once phase one is completely paid for, fundraising for phase two will begin. Phase two will consist of a six-lane pool complete with a whirlpool and steamroom. The phase one section of the building will be open during construction of phase two. She said the building was specifically designed for this purpose.
“The shared wall we have between phase one and phase two has been designed so we can add right on-to it and the foundations have been designed knowing that a pool is going next to it,” she said.
Once the phase one section is open to the public, the existing Y building will only be used for the pool access. The Y on the Square also will close as the new facility will have 24/7 access. At this time there is no plan for utilizing that space once it is closed.
“We’ll have everything in one spot, which will be nice,” she said.
There is land available for a potential phase three if the Y chooses to build out in the future, but Schulte says right now that is just an option, not a plan. She said some ideas the board has discussed include a full kitchen, a racquetball court or a second gym.
“I think that would be, depending on how far down the road it is, we would probably get together a group of community members to determine ‘what do we still need?’” she said.
For now, the committee is focusing on completing phase one despite the weather and is looking forward to the completion date.
“We live in Iowa and we know the weather might not be behind us at this point, but we’re going to continue to work through the process,” she said.