YMCA Embarks On $14 Million Campaign To Replace ‘Tired, Worn Out’ Building
For Peter Wold, heading a campaign for a new YMCA was personal.
"I grew up here in Casper, and I used the YMCA a lot when I was growing up," Wold said Tuesday.
"And then I came back to Casper after being gone for a few years, and realized that this is a wonderful facility, but it's tired, and it's worn out, and it needs to be replaced," he said.
"And this is going to be it," Wold said. "This will serve the next generation of young people that grow up here in Casper and that makes me happy."
Wold along with Susie McMurry share the leadership for the project to replace and augment buildings dating to 1962 at the southeast corner of East 15th and South Durbin streets.
After the press conference announcing the project, the Y's CEO Brent Kleinjen said the nonprofit agency will be building an entirely new facility to the south of the current building.
"The floor plans are a lot more visually appealing, but it will have a field house, wellness center, group exercise studios, child watch, membership lounge," Kleinjen said.
The 38,000-square-foot building will drastically alter the Y's footprint. Instead of the current north-facing entrance, the new building will face south towards the mountains. The skate park will be relocated nearby and new parking will ease the congestion at the current north lot.
The existing buildings will be converted to other uses, such as installing artificial turf in the main gym for indoor soccer, according to the plans.
Construction will begin in June, and it should be complete by the fall of 2016 without disrupting current operations, he said. "We're fairly confident we can raise the money for phase one now, and we're at 70 percent of our goal."
Phase one is estimated to cost $14 million.
After that, the Y will evaluate the community needs and available funding for a second phase, which would cost about $10 million and include a new pool, Kleinjen said.
The Y has about 2,500 to 3,000 members during the winter, and that number declines during the summer, he said. The Y also offers programs for about 2,000 people.
The Y's buildings are on land owned by the City of Casper, and as a nonprofit corporation, the Y does not pay property taxes.
That may seem to give it a competitive advantage to the growing number of local for-profit fitness centers.
But the Y's nonprofit status means it functions as a charity and works with people who might not be able to pay the membership fees of the for-profit centers, Kleinjen said. "We give out every year over $250,000 in free and reduced memberships."
About a fourth of the members have discounted fees based on their income, he said. "So we're subsidizing a large portion of those in need, so that's why we're a nonprofit."