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Get a peek at YMCA

Drawings provided by JLG Architects This architectural rendering offers a look at what the new YMCA wellness center will look like once the facility opens in June. Another rendering (below) shows the gym area.1 / 2
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The entire community is invited to the new YMCA site at 1849 County Road 82 NW, Alexandria for a sneak-peek at the new facility that is under construction.

The "open house" will take place Saturday, October 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

YMCA leaders say it will be a family friendly environment with activities for everyone.

There will be ongoing tours put on by YMCA staff and volunteers as well as the YMCA partners, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Douglas County Hospital.

In addition, staff from the YMCA Child Care Center (Young People's Place) will be available to answer questions regarding the new child care center. They will also take applications to reserve slots in the new child care center.

The facility plans will be on display as well as renderings and schematics, which will provide a colorful look at what's in store, according to Jeff Batholomew, YMCA executive director.

"This event will provide the community the opportunity to share in the excitement and get a first hand look at what will be available in the spring of 2010 and begin the YMCA fever," Batholomew noted.

A free-will offering will be taken for lunch donated by Henry's Foods and Tastefully Simple.

There will also be organized games/activities for kids to participate in during the course of the afternoon.

Additional plans include a silent auction and raffle for a variety of items, including a guided hunt at Elk Lake Hunting Preserve and dinner for six prepared by Bartholomew.

Many other items will be available on the silent auction table and also by raffle.

An information table will provide updates on the YMCA capital campaign, YMCA programs, charter membership campaign, employment opportunities and more.

All proceeds from the event will go to the YMCA's scholarship program, which allows everyone to be involved in the YMCA regardless of their ability to pay. The YMCA believes in providing kids and families to interact and grow in a healthy and safe environment, Batholomew said.

The sneak-a-peek open house is being sponsored by Pemberton Law Firm of Alexandria.

Because of a wet October, construction on the new YMCA is slightly behind schedule right now but Bartholomew is confident that the Y will still be able to open next June.

YMCA leaders plan to launch a charter membership campaign next March and start enrolling members.

In the meantime, YMCA leaders are calling on the community to complete the final pieces of the funding puzzle. To date, a total of $8,181,594 has been raised - still shy of the $8,885,000 goal.

Bartholomew noted that there is still time for large donors to be part of the "recognition wall" inside the new YMCA. The minimum donation for that is $25,000.

Donors or businesses that step forward with large contributions can also have part of the facility named in their honor, such as the health and wellness facility.

Small donations can also make an impact, Bartholomew said. A "challenge grant" of $245,000 is matching any donation. So far, $129,000 has been collected toward the challenge, he said.

"We don't want to leave those dollars on the table," Bartholomew said.

To give to the Alexandria YMCA, call (320) 763-9621 or visit the website,