Newton’s YMCA is wrapping up some major renovations. Most of the improvements started last summer, and the final piece of phase one — redoing the guts of the pool — will be finished this spring.
Much of the work was painting and improving the look of the facility, which first opened in 1976. New exercise equipment was added, and the wellness area was opened up to create a stronger connection between the track, weight room and exercise machines.
“The flow of the Y will be better,” said Associate Executive Director Rhonda Robson. “(Members) won’t feel like they will have to go down corridors, down another hallway to get back to the weight room.”
Phase one of renovations cost more than $1 million. It was intended to match community and member needs, Robson said. Just about every area of the building will be touched in some fashion. Phase two is still being discussed and will start in the next 12 months, maybe as early as this fall.
New soundboards were put in the big gym, as well as new paint and a resurfaced floor. With the soundboards, echoing is reduced and people can more easily communicate in the gym. This is a benefit during morning bootcamp when an instructor is trying to talk to a group, Robson said.
The Y also added another fitness studio. The addition is the bottom half of what used to be a racquetball court. The Y’s fitness studios feature sound-deadening technology to make the rooms calmer for classes that can focus on mind, body and spirit.
Some of the updates to the Y are noticeable right away. For example, the lobby restrooms, which were original to the 1976 design, are now modern and bright.
Other renovations are more behind-the-scenes. The heating and cooling system is getting updated. Also, the pool renovations of phase one will all be underneath the pool. The pool is facing a mechanical overhaul, Robson said. The scoreboard in the pool area is also updated.
The Y expanded its storage space by shrinking the locker rooms. Locker room use has fallen over the years, and reducing their size also allowed for the aquatic office to expand. New private changing rooms with a shower, sink, toilet and changing table are available for handicapped members and families.
Many of the improvements were made possible because of a generous capital endowment gift of $5 million to the Y from Brad and Mary Manatt. The gift was given in December of 2015 and set to pay over a three-year stretch.
“They wanted to keep the Y going,” Robson said. “They wanted to make sure that we’re here and established for a long period of time.”
With the building updates, Robson said, the Y will be able to make sure its members and guests in the community have the programs they need to help them in their mind, body and spirit.
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