Tri-County YMCA fundraises for $2.3M expansion

Herald file photo by Sarah Ann Jump

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

FERDINAND — The Tri-County YMCA is about to get bigger.

The YMCA announced today that it plans to begin construction on an 11,000-square-foot expansion at the Ferdinand location at 131 E. 16th St. that will double the wellness center and add a new 5,000-square-foot program center. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2020 and take about six months.

“The primary purpose is to accommodate the growth that we’ve seen,” said Executive Director Mike Steffe. In 2018, the YMCA served 2,400 members — a 35% increase over previous years — and 2,200 program participants, according to a press release. Steffe said he expects to see about a 3% increase in membership by the end of 2019. The YMCA’s programs include after-school programs, summer camps and Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s patients, all of which have seen significant growth, the press release said.

The rapid growth put a strain on the YMCA’s almost 10-year-old facilities.

“One of the number one issues we hear is that the wellness center [the weight room] is just too crowded,” Steffe said.

The current YMCA facility is 22,000 square feet and was completed in 2011 following a $3 million capital campaign that kicked off in 2004 and ended in September 2010, a few months after construction crews broke ground on the facility. Prior to construction, the YMCA operated on land owned by the Sisters of St. Benedict. When the YMCA decided to build its current space, the Ferdinand Community Center donated land near its own facility to the YMCA.

The YMCA held its first day of operation at the current location on August 30, 2011 and held a grand opening on Sept. 10 of that year.

In response to the comments about the original building feeling cramped, the board of directors undertook a community needs assessment in 2017 that looked at how to address the needs of the growing membership and accommodate new programs. The upcoming expansion is the result of that study.

To fund the expansion, the YMCA launched the Reimagine Your Y. Capital Campaign with a goal of raising $2.3 million. So far, $1.9 million has been raised. Anyone interested in donating can stop by the YMCA to get a donation envelope, donate online at tricountyymca.org/give/donate-to-the-y or contact Steffe at 812-367-2323 or mike@tricountyymca.org.




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