Oen­o­va­tions continue at YMCA well­ness cen­ter

North Penn Life - - Opinion - By Dan Sokil dsokil@jour­nal­reg­is­ter.com

Plans for a pro­posed col­lab­o­ra­tion project be­tween the North Penn YMCA and three other agen­cies are still be­ing re­viewed and are years away from be­com­ing a re­al­ity.

But Y pa­trons and vis­i­tors may have no­ticed work that’s al­ready go­ing on be­hind the scenes — and ac­cord­ing to YMCA CEO Bob Gal­lagher, those im­prove­ments should bring a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence than ever to fa­cil­i­ties that are long over­due for some up­grades.

“This build­ing was built in 1963, which means it was planned in the late 1950s. That means a lot of the tech­nol­ogy we’re still us­ing is pre-space pro­gram, maybe even based on World War II tech­nol­ogy,” said Gal­lagher.

“That’s not only be­fore iPods and tablets, they didn’t even have com­put­ers. That’s the YMCA model across the coun­try, but it’s 2012 and time for us to do some­thing,” he said.

YMCA clients have al­ready no­ticed some of the up­grades that started sev­eral weeks ago with the clo­sure of the Y’s ooWeOOe fiWneVV FenWer.

From the rest of the YMCA, all you can see are closed doors and hear the oc­ca­sional ham­mer­ing or drilling noises, but the work tak­ing place now is tran­sIRrPLnJ Whe IRrPer fiWneVV cen­ter into a state-of-the-art fam­ily fun zone.

“oight now, our ootelle cen­ter is about 5,500 square IeeW. WLWh Whe VeFRnG-flRRr mez­za­nine and stu­dio space we’re adding, we’re go­ing to al­most dou­ble that space,” Gal­lagher said.

Ex­er­cise equip­ment from the cen­ter’s for­mer in­car- na­tion is still sit­ting in place, largely cov­ered with sheets to keep them clean from con­struc­tion de­bris. Above the old equip­ment is where the real work is tak­ing place.

Inside what had been ceil­ing space, work­ers are LnVWDOOLnJ D VeFRnG flRRr over­look that runs along the south­east wall of the cen­ter, fea­tur­ing themed DnG DJe-VSeFL­fiF ex­erFLVe equip­ment grouped in cer­tain ar­eas.

Babysit­ting rooms and VWuGLR VSDFe IRr fiWneVV classes will be blocked off from adult weight-lift­ing equip­ment, for ex­am­ple, and a “green zone” of re­fur­bished and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ex­er­cise equip­ment will be near a rock wall on the op­po­site side of the cen­ter, next to tele­vi­sion screens show­ing what­ever the day’s big­gest sports events are in a Sports Zone de­signed for teens and young adults.

Staff and most of the YMCA’s cur­rent clients have al­ready been no­ti­fied of the up­com­ing changes and the com­ing weeks will re­veal more as the re­vamped cen­ter takes shape.

Mod­ern­ized locker rooms and ul­ti­mately a new fam­ily pool are phased in as the col­lab­o­ra­tive project works its way through the plan­ning process.

“We did dis­cuss look­ing at other town­ships and new lo­ca­tions, but ul­ti­mately we made the de­ci­sion that we wanted to find new ways to serve the community here,” said Gal­lagher.

“Last year we pro­vided nearly $ 1 mil­lion in char­i­ta­ble ser­vices to the community, and we’re re­ally hope­ful we can continue to do that, and that this project will be a big part of help­ing turn this part of town around,” he said.

Photo by ANDY STET­TLER

The North Penn YMCA’s Rotelle Well­ness Cen­ter was closed weeks ago as ren­o­va­tions be­gan.

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