YMCA officials unveil design, layout for new city facility

More than 150 people turned out at the Genetti Hotel Thursday night to see plans and hear the most recent update on the new YMCA to be built near Williamsport Regional Medical Center.

So far, 65 percent of the $10 million need to construct the Williamsport Branch YMCA has been raised.

“We have $3.5 million to go,” announced Williamsport Branch Director Chad Eberhart.

YMCA officials urged those gathered for the event to volunteer their efforts toward fundraising and promoting the facility.

Ground-breaking is set for late spring and a grand opening in early fall 2014.

“We are excited about a new facility and what it will do,” said River Valley Regional YMCA CEO Dave Fagerstrom.

Fagerstrom went over plans for the 63,000-square-foot building, which will replace the existing downtown YMCA.

The first floor, he noted, will include child care facilities, a large community room, men’s and women’s locker rooms, and basketball, racquetball and handball courts.

The pool will be similar to the Eastern Lycoming YMCA pool, deep enough at both ends for diving and designed to accommodate swim teams.

Parties and various other events can take place in the community room.

“It will be a very busy room,” he said.

The second floor will include a spacious wellness center, an aerobics area and office space.

Also included will be a special watch area where members can take their children for babysitting while they work out.

Fagerstrom noted that the new building will exclude many of the limitations of the downtown YMCA, which, at just 38,000 square feet, is about half the size of the planned facility.

For example, with more natural lighting, the new YMCA will be more energy efficient.

“I hope everyone is as excited as we are,” said Williamsport Branch YMCA President Sue Stackhouse. “We need all the community support we can get.”

Eberhart said people can solicit gifts for the building, make contributions or promote the project.

Fagerstrom noted that the YMCA is more than a recreation center for members. The focus is to serve the community in a socially responsible manner.

Toward that end, the facility will be part of efforts to decrease obesity rates and preventable diseases, including diabetes, and to increase the independence of senior citizens.

Fagerstrom was happy that so many people turned out for the event: “The idea was to get a big turnout and we did.”