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YMCA to break ground next week on phase two expansion project

Here is a schematic drawing showing the floor plan of the expanded Alexandria Area YMCA. (Contributed)

The Alexandria Area YMCA will break ground on a 5,600 square foot addition next week.

The organization’s board of directors, along with Jon Ballou and Jill Wagner, YMCA capital campaign co-chairs, announced Wednesday that the YMCA will move forward with the construction phase of its “Continue the Dream” capital campaign.

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“Our Y has been so blessed by the generosity of our donors and volunteers, a terrific base of members, and a talented team of staff,” said Ballou. “The collective support of these stakeholders has made this exciting phase two expansion possible, and as a result, our Y is poised to have an even larger positive impact on individuals and families in the Alexandria lakes area.”

This year, YMCA membership has grown to more than 2,000 membership units, and 6,000 members.

The YMCA child care facility is currently at capacity, serving more than 130 children, and hundreds of kids and families who participate in monthly youth and adult programming.

YMCA members were surveyed two years ago to determine whether there was a need in the facility for an addition.

The answer, board members noted, was a resounding “yes,” and the planning process began.

Multi-purpose space is the campaign’s number one priority. This area will feature a sound-proof divider to provide opportunities for increased group exercise classes, child care gross motor skill space, overflow space for child watch, and youth and family program development.

The new child watch center will feature 2,300 square feet of space, approximately four times that of the current space.

The new center will provide age specific rooms, with age appropriate equipment and toys. It will be located adjacent to the multi-purpose room addition and playground for increased opportunities for gross motor skill development and outdoor activities.

Due to the shortfall of the phase one campaign, approximately $500,000 of debt remains, and is built into the phase two capital campaign goal of $1.85 million.

“These are the drivers behind the exciting acceleration of phase two of our facility expansion,” said Wagner. “We invite you to join us as we work together to raise the remaining $50,000 toward the J.A. Wedum $500,000 matching grant.”

“It’s amazing to see how the community has responded to this facility,” added Kathy Fischer, YMCA board chair. “They have welcomed it with open arms, and our phase two expansion means we will continue to meet the needs of our community.”

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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