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Written by LBFYMCA on 23 June 2018.

renovateRLower Bucks Family YMCA Board of Directors has voted to remain in its current location in Fairless Hills and is beginning plans to overhaul the dated facility to better serve the community and meet growing needs.

The YMCA listened to member and community feedback to stay and enhance the building on South Oxford Valley Road which was built in 1959 and houses a fitness center, program space, gymnasium, pool and child care center. The board consulted with an architect experienced in YMCA construction to rework the space within its current footprint to allow for an expanded fitness center, additional program space and more parking, plus give the entire building a new look.

Four years ago, the board of directors assessed the condition of the current building, estimating the investment required to repair the inner workings of the Y, including updating the systems and machinery, to be roughly $2 million. Given this number, coupled with the dire financial situation of the Y at the time, the board determined the only option was to sell the current property and start fresh at another location.

 “Having come to this conclusion, a property committee was formed and over time they evaluated nearly twenty properties in the area,” said President/CEO Zane Moore. “Concurrently, the Y sold two adjacent properties, paid down debt and became stronger operationally. The regained financial strength of the Y and lack of availability of the ‘perfect property’ led the board to re-evaluate the viability of staying and renovating the current building.”

After detailed analysis and careful consideration of numerous factors, including feedback from residents and current Y members, the board concluded that staying at its current location was the best option for the health of the Y and its members and community.

“We worked hard over the last couple of years to improve our financial situation and are proud to honor our commitment to serving our community in Lower Bucks. We are excited to give our 60-year-old building new life with a completely updated look and feel, while also providing more space for expanded programs, activities and parking,” said Paul Kawoczka, Chair of Lower Bucks Family YMCA Board of Directors. “The demand for financial assistance and our free community impact programs continues to grow and we are dedicated to meeting these growing needs in a renovated facility.”

In June, Moore met with representatives of Bristol Township to share the Y’s plan to renovate its current facility. “The township is pleased to hear the YMCA will be staying in Bristol Township. It is a valued community resource that serves residents of all ages and circumstances,” commented Bill McCauley, Bristol Township Manager. “We look forward to working with the Y as their plans unfold and throughout the renovations.”

The YMCA makes a big impact in Lower Bucks with $1,823,605 in community benefit provided last year, helping 11,244 people live more active, healthy lives. The Y serves the community with its community impact programs, such as free memberships for 7th graders, a lifestyle program for adults with prediabetes, a 12-week program for veterans to improve their health and fitness and free swim safety lessons for qualifying second graders. This is possible in large part to the generous support of donors.

Lower Bucks Family YMCA has a rich history, serving generations of community members at the Fairless Hills branch and, more recently, in Newtown and Morrisville. The Y’s community benefit includes a record $451,041 in financial assistance in 2017, providing 619 individuals access to affordable childcare, camp, fitness programs and more. The need for financial assistance continues to grow in Lower Bucks. So far this year, there has been a 107% increase in demand compared to this time last year.

The Y is in the first phase of a significant campaign to raise the needed dollars to move forward with the project. The organization is making great progress and will be inviting and asking their members and the community to join in supporting the project as they get closer to their goal.

An early partnership gift of $2 million from NovaCare Rehabilitation will support the Y’s vision and investment across Bucks County as the Y and NovaCare share a deep commitment to improve the health and wellness of the tens of thousands of residents and families served throughout the community.

With anticipated continued fundraising success, Lower Bucks Family YMCA expects to break ground on the renovations in 2019. Every consideration is being made to minimize disruption to the local community. The Y is making plans to continue programming for members and the community with minimal interruptions during the renovations.

FAQ

When will renovations begin?

We expect to break ground in 2019 and anticipate renovations taking up to one year. We do not have an exact timeline yet. Much will be dependent on how quickly we can raise the needed funds.

What will be added?

This renovation will be a total overhaul of the current facility with an entirely new look and feel. Plans are still being finalized, but we intend to recapture unused space by reconfiguring the layout to provide an expanded fitness center, as well as additional program space.

Will more parking be added?

Yes. We consulted with an architect experienced in YMCA construction to rework our interior space within our current building footprint and plan to eliminate unused space which will provide the opportunity to add needed parking spaces. We do not have an exact number at this time as plans are still being finalized.

When will the renovation plans be finalized/when can we see them?

We are in the early stages of drafting plans, which will then need to be approved by the township. We will share these plans with our members and community as soon as we can.

Will programs and services continue to be offered in the building during renovation?

It is our intent to provide the same programs and services we currently offer during construction. While programs and classes will be relocated and offerings adjusted as needed to allow for space renovation, it is our goal to minimize disruption and eaffect on how we serve our members and program participants.


Once the renovation plans are complete, we will work with the architect on a staging plan that will look at which areas of the building will be worked on when and done in a way that minimizes disruption to our programs and classes. We will communicate the relocation of programs and classes as soon as we are able and with lead time to members and participants involved.

Will you be closing the pool?

The pool will remain open with the exception of a short period of time, still to be determined, so that it can receive a facelift as part of the overall building renovations. The time of closure will be communicated to members and participants in advance of the short-term closure. We will do our best to find alternative pools to use during the closure. We encourage members to take advantage of the reciprocity between local YMCAs and would like to also remind our members that they are welcome to use our other Y locations, such as the Newtown pool, at any time.

Will Stay & Play continue to be offered during renovations?

Yes, Stay & Play will continue to be offered during renovations. It will, at some point, be moved from its current location but it will continue as a benefit to your membership.

Will community events (Senior Social, Boo Bash, First Fridays, etc.) continue to be offered to the community during renovations?

The Y is making plans to continue programming and events for members and the community with minimal interruptions. It is possible that events will be relocated or rescheduled based on our renovations schedule.

How much will the renovations cost?

We do not have final renovation costs at this time as they are dependent on the final facility plans still being developed, and in part to the amount of money we are able to raise for the project.
We do not have final renovation costs at this time as they are dependent on the final facility plans still being developed and the amount of money we are able to raise for the project.

Will membership fees increase?

We do not anticipate a membership fee increase as a result of the renovations. Each year, our staff and board consider the costs of operating our facilities and providing our programs, and set fees for the following year accordingly.

How will the Y pay for the renovations? How can I get involved or help with these efforts?

We are in the first phase of a significant campaign to raise the needed dollars to move forward with the project. The Y is making great progress and will be inviting our  members and the community to join in supporting the project as we get closer to our goal. You can help by working with the Y Development Team to help introduce and connect us to member and community prospects and by being an advocate and supporter of the project yourself.

Why did you decide to stay after saying it didn’t make sense to stay there when campaigning for the Lake Caroline property?

After detailed analysis and careful consideration of numerous factors, including feedback from residents and current Y members, the bBoard concluded that staying at its current location is the best option for the health of the Y and its members and community.

How will renovations impact local traffic and the surrounding residences?

Every consideration will be made to minimize disruption to the surrounding homes and local community.

How can I stay informed about the renovations as plans progress?

As our plans develop further and we have more information to share, we will post this information to our website. We will also alert members via our bi-weekly member eblast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We believe that to bring about meaningful change in individuals and communities, we must be focused and accountable. At the Y, we measure the success of our cause by how well we engage communities in our three areas of focus.

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