This article is the second installment of a two-part series on the attainment of a cutting-edge YMCA in the Upper Perkiomen Valley.
The details may still be in the works, but the new Upper Perkiomen Valley YMCA already has people talking about its leading-edge facility, program offerings and jobs it will bring to the region.
Branch Executive Director Michael Tannous said this week the construction timeline for the building at 1399 Quakertown Avenue, Upper Hanover Township, is a loose one, depending largely on the weather. But a foundation is scheduled for completion already this month, with electric and phone lines being run to the site in the coming weeks.
The steel infrastructure and masonry work will also be constructed this spring, with the roof and installation of plumbing and HVAC to be completed this summer. The construction of the gym floor and other final items will reportedly take place in the fall.
Currently the building is scheduled for completion in December of this year, with an anticipated opening date sometime in January.
And the facility promises to bring all the modern conveniences and offerings the community has come to expect.
It will include a two-story grand lobby, a wellness center with cardiovascular conditioning and strength training equipment, an oversized gym with a basketball court, gymnastics equipment and a volleyball court, a child watch center, an indoor running and walking track, four group exercise studios for group cycling, aerobics, yoga, special needs youth classes and an aquatic center with three pools.
The aquatics center will feature a 25-yard, six-lane competitive lap pool, a three-lane recreational pool and a family fun pool with zero depth entry for very young children, special needs members and older adults. Tannous said the pools will offer varying temperatures and will support an array of aquatic activities, such as swim lessons for younger kids, hydro-fitness and specialized programs for seniors.
"The beauty of having a full facility is that it allows the whole family unit to be occupied in one part of the building or another under supervised care," Tannous said. "Having our own gym and pool will be very attractive for both the experienced Y members and the newcomers."
Tannous said the Y could only reveal a small portion of the new programs to be offered, including cycling, t'ai chi and yoga classes, Les Mills Body Pump and Combat, Zumba, pilates and ballet barre, a type of exercise class using ballet and a bar, hydro fitness classes, pickup basketball and volleyball, dodgeball, youth art lessons and swim lessons, Zumbini for parents and toddlers and various offering for those with special abilities and senior citizens.
Tannous said the Y is currently developing special afterschool programs for kids ages 12 to 16 as well.
He stressed that the organization is dedicated to availing itself to people of all income levels, through free memberships for seniors, depending on their health insurance, free memberships for seventh-graders in Upper Perkiomen School District and for fifth- to eighth-graders participating in the Y Achievers program, and discounts based on financial need.
Up to 200 part- and full-time jobs are expected to be created by the facility. The current Upper Perkiomen Valley YMCA Annex in Pennsburg utilizes 72 employees for 2,200 members.
Tannous said the new Y is aiming for a membership of 6,000-plus.
"We will need many aquatic staff such as lifeguards, swim instructors, coaches, as well as fitness instructors, wellness center staff, membership personnel specially certified instructors in areas like art, theater, special abilities, group exercise, etc. Moreover, we will need a handful of staff skilled at administration and finances to run the back offices," he said.
No matter whether or not they reach that membership goal, Tannous said the Y aims to be a "safe, multi-generational fun place to be while keeping true to its mission of 'putting Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit mind and body for all.'"
"Sixty years ago the people of this community had a vision for healthy recreation for our families and neighborhoods. The Y wants to not only fulfill that dream but exceed it in the expectation of what a resource like this can deliver to our populace.
"We presently have very beneficial relationships with many groups in the community. The Y wants to expand and grow strategic partnerships with [those groups] and so many more. The Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA association is a very healthy, well-run not-for-profit business which is why they can invest their mission into our area with a new Y. We expect that the Upper Perkiomen Valley Y will be able to 'pay it forward' as it exceeds membership expectations in order to help another community have their own Y."
For more information on the Upper Perkiomen Valley YMCA, and to get construction updates, visit the Y's Facebook page, "Upper Perk YMCA" or call 215-679-9622.