The Mountain View campus of the YMCA of Jefferson County is likely to keep its gym, but replace its pool, to make the best use of the space.
But before that happens, The YMCA will be bringing its plans to the community to gauge support.
That’s the word from Len Borchers, CEO of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, and Jessie Wedmore, branch manager of the Jefferson County YMCA, both of whom emphasized that nothing is set in stone, even as they assured the community that forward progress is being made toward modernizing the Port Townsend facility.
Borchers said the Y’s ongoing efforts have their roots in the nearly decade-old Make Waves campaign to build a pool and recreation center.
The Y helped develop a concept for a 56,000-square-foot facility with a price tag not to exceed $24 million.
That iteration stalled after a 2015 feasibility study by Collins Capital Advisors of Seattle determined it was not only out of the financial reach of the community, but also beyond the organizational resources of the YMCA at what was a busy time for the organization.
In 2015, the Y had taken on the former Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center, turning it into the Sequim branch of the YMCA in 2016.
Within six months of launching the Sequim branch, not only did the Olympic Peninsula YMCA’s membership jump from 2,800 to 9,500, but its budget and employee numbers doubled.
Based on the Collins advice and other feedback, the Y reduced the prospective scope of its facility renovations. Meanwhile, construction costs have increased since the Make Waves campaign started in 2012.
“So instead of the initial plans for an all-new facility, we started considering what we could reuse from the existing buildings,” Wedmore said. The gym is sturdy and well-used and the pool structure is solid as well, he said. “We thought we might be able to design around it, and cut the renovation costs by as much as half.”
But that plan is complicated by the need to upgrade the existing heating system, which lies beneath the gym and pool. The estimated cost of that plan approached $30 million.
The latest plan calls for the Y to continue to use the gym and cafeteria space, but to replace the pool with a full length lap pool, therapy pool and additional square footage to enable the Y to expand adult and youth programs.
This partial re-purposing would be quicker and trim the cost down to within $24 million.
Borchers said the Y is working with Kirk Robinson, who served as project manager on Salish Coast Elementary. They anticipate drawings will show a facility of 45,000 square feet, with construction possibly starting as soon as the winter of 2021 and wrapping up by the following spring.
“The Y will be conducting a Capital Campaign for partial funding of the project and is continuing to work with our community partners to develop an overall funding strategy Borchers said. “We’ll still be depending on outside donors for about half of the cost, although we don’t know the exact numbers yet.”
Within the next couple of months, Borchers — who previously served as chief financial officer for the Olympic Peninsula YMCA — aims to present an official cost estimate to the public, along with a design plan and architectural renderings. He’ll be available to present plans to service groups and through other community venues.
In the meantime, Wedmore said the existing Y at Port Townsend will operate as it has.
“We’re still here, providing safety net programming both on-site and as far away as Brinnon, for members and non-members alike,” Wedmore said. “We have a lot going on in the meantime.”