By Christine Bryant
Dozens of community leaders and residents gathered for a celebratory and ceremonious kick-off to constructing a long-awaited YMCA in Reynoldsburg.
The official ground-breaking ceremony, which took place at the end of September, included representatives from both the city of Reynoldsburg and YMCA of Central Ohio, as well as several residents who came to be a part of the official breaking ground of what is expected to be a multi-million dollar project.
“The city is experiencing great momentum, and we are excited to break ground on the recreation center,” Mayor Brad McCloud said. “We want to thank the Citizens to Improve the Quality of Life in Reynoldsburg committee, and of course the voters in Reynoldsburg for their commitment to moving this very important project forward.”
Current plans call for the proposed facility to include a large indoor swimming pool with four swimming lanes, an outdoor swimming pool with six lanes, an outdoor splash zone, an indoor track for walking and running, a fitness center for cardio and muscle conditioning, a full gymnasium, and studios for community classes like yoga, cycling, kickboxing and dance.
Day care for kids while parents are on site also is included in the current plans, as is a learning wing where all ages will learn about becoming a chef, artist, musician or engineer.
In May, voters approved an income tax increase from 1.5 to 2.5 percent to in part pay for the construction of the YMCA facility at the old community pool site off Davidson Drive. Once constructed, the YMCA of Central Ohio will incur the costs of maintaining and managing the facility, as well as any repairs that would be necessary over time as the facility ages.
Bill Sampson, Reynoldsburg’s public service director, said the city’s selection committee interviewed three shortlisted firms to serve as the construction manager on the YMCA project, and recently chose the firm, Gilbane Building Company.
“The construction manager will work with the architect and the city to develop the design and construct the project,” he said. “Gilbane is a local firm with offices throughout Ohio and the United States. Gilbane has an extensive recreation and sports facility portfolio.”
Currently, the city is advertising for a contractor to begin demolition of the old pool site so construction can begin.
In addition to the former Reynoldsburg Swim Club, demolition also would include the house located next to the banquet facility behind the post office.
“The Bingo hall currently has a lease that expires at the end of the year,” Sampson said. “Beginning in early 2018, we will demolish that building.”
The project’s architect also is working with the city’s steering committee to design the center and finalize amenities based on input received at public meetings. The goal is to have a concept design and square footages defined in late October or early November, he said.
“This concept will then go to city council for their approval,” Sampson said.
The schematic design is anticipated to be completed by the end of the year.
“This detailed information will go to the construction manager to develop the cost, which we should have by February 2018,” he said. “This will then go to city council for their approval.”
The facility is expected to open in October 2019, and will begin selling memberships about six to eight months in advance of opening, said Brian Kridler, senior vice president for strategy and innovation with YMCA of Central Ohio.
“At that time we will finalize and announce membership prices, as well as announce any policy decision made in regards to the selling of day passes,” he said. “We’ll also share the many opportunities for everyone to participate in membership, regardless of their ability to pay full membership dues.”
The hiring process will kick off about 6 months from opening, beginning with the management team, Kridler said.
“In the immediate future, the Y will continue in our consultative role to the design and construction teams,” he said. “We will also be working to lift the profile of the YMCA in Reynoldsburg by ensuring that we are at as many community events as possible with an eye toward launching some early programs in advance of the facility opening in October 2019.”
Kridler said the YMCA also will begin the advisory board development process by working with the Reynoldsburg Parks and Recreation Department to develop a volunteer-driven Program Advisory task force.
“As that subcommittee begins to do its work, we will engage other interested volunteers in rounding out other typical YMCA branch committees in anticipation of seating an advisory board about six months prior to opening,” he said.
Kridler says he believes the addition of a YMCA in Reynoldsburg will strengthen the community because it will be a place where all can feel welcomed and appreciated for what they have to offer to a collective effort.
“We believe that this is something very few organizations do, and these days, with the bonds of community under continuous strain, that’s something that we believe is sorely needed everywhere,” he said.