BECKLEY, W.Va. — Plans for the new home of the YMCA of Southern West Virginia have been revealed.
YMCA of Southern West Virginia CEO Jay Rist made the announcement Monday on a soccer field at the Paul Kline Memorial Sports Complex. The organization’s current facility sits in downtown Beckley just blocks away from the campus of WVU Tech.
While the roughly 50,000 square foot building has gone through several renovations since opening in 1976, Rist said plans for a new facility began about a decade ago.
“Once we kind of got things rolling, we’ve seen that there’s a lot of people who want to step forward and help us out. We feel like this is a culmination of a long period of time. It’s been ten years now so all credit is due to the visionaries behind all of this. We have a great team working behind the scenes that have helped us get to this point.”
Plans call for a 120,000 square foot facility, more than doubling the existing building’s footprint. It will be located on land already owned by the YMCA at the Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex along the East Beckley Bypass.
Specific features include a state-of-the-art aquatics center with water slides, a dive pool, zero depth pool, lazy river and a rock climbing wall modeled after Summersville Lake and Seneca Rocks. Climbers will be able to jump into the pool when they reach the top of the wall.
Other amenities will include an indoor soccer field, three exercise studios, two gyms and a full fitness center. Conveniences such as child care and a juice bar will greet members near the front of the facility.
VCBO Architecture from Salt Lake City, Utah was selected to design the facility. Rist said this will be the firm’s first project in West Virginia.
“I wish I had their vision because when you look at the conceptual design, especially the front, it’s got wings. (The architect) said that he imagined walking up there on the hill and looking back at the complex like an eagle getting ready to take off.”
The organization has gathered $26 million toward the project. $13 million is from community and business contributions and the remaining $13 million through government funding. The YMCA has launched a campaign to raise the remaining $4 million by the end of the year.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge obviously. We need our community and our membership base to really step up and help us in this regard. This is a $30 million project so a lot of the leg work has already been done. That means we’ve already secured $26 million for the project. If we can raise $4 million here locally we’ll get a brand new Y. So we’re really excited about it.”
Rist hopes to hold indoor soccer leagues at the new facility. Tournaments have already been held at the YMCA’s soccer complex across the road from the site of the new building.
“Putting the facility out here gives us a centralized operation for the Y which is great. The other thing it gives us is access to the interstate (I-64) so it’s a little more convenient. We’re close by Woodrow Wilson High School, Beckley Elementary School, Beckley-Stratton Middle School. It will give them better access to the facility.”
Rist added low health rankings across West Virginia inspires his organization to want the most state-of-the-art facility for the region.
“We feel like the Y has the knowledge, the resources and the capacity for change. So that’s why we’re dedicating our resources to building a new facility so that we can serve our seniors, serve our families, serve the adults here that want to be active so that we can change the way people perceive not just our area but our state.”
Rist hopes to break ground in October with a completion date in Spring of 2020. For more information or to donate to the YMCA of Southern West Virginia, visit their website.