The Downtown YMCA is getting a facelift. For the first time in decades the building is undergoing a full renovation. Some members are worried because the workout space is being cut by more than 60 percent, but management says there will be a lot more to offer in the new space.
Crews are working around the clock to update the YMCA. The project called, "New Day New YMCA" kicked off in late 2013. The project is scaling down the 100,000 square-foot workout space to 38,000 feet. Through the new project the downtown Y has gotten rid of its pool. Some members are unhappy and others were apprehensive, at first.
"I was concerned. I'll be the first to admit that," Deb Thompson said.
Thompson is a longtime member of the Y. For 25 years she has been coming four days a week. She says it has taken her a while to get used to the change.
"I was concerned it's only going to be a 1/3 of the size it is now, but I started thinking about it and the conditioning center when I started coming was a gym and then they turned it into a conditioning center and it's fantastic," Thompson said.
The President and CEO of the Sioux Falls Family YMCA Mike Gulick says even though the new space is smaller, it won't be empty.
"You can have 100,000 square feet, but if 20 or 25 percent of that is mechanical, antiquated equipment that took up a lot of space that you can't program, like hallways stairways, the member experience isn't improved by that," Gulick said.
Work continues day and night. While there's not much here now, this will be home to new locker rooms, childcare center, free weight and conditioning room. There is even a state of the art virtual group exercise room. It will be fresh and modern.
"I'm looking forward to the new spot, even though it's going to be smaller, it's going to be great. It's going to be top of the line, said Thompson.
In the new space Gulick says the YMCA used membership satisfaction surveys to decide what to put into the new building. For some members, that means a lot.
"You know that they are taking the members concerns to heart they are not just 'okay write them down and we aren't going to do anything with them,'" Thompson said.
The original plan was to have the project done by mid-March, but the cold winter season delayed it just more than a month, but Gulick says the crews can get a lot done in a very short period of time.
"You can see by walking around in this space even though it may be 6 weeks out and a lot of work has to be done you can admire all this work and what else has to be done," Gulick said.
Despite the changes, many believe the YMCA has a bright future.
"Finally we can continue the mission, the youth development, health and living, social responsibility, and in addition give them a quality place to do their work out," Gulick said.
"Change is always scary, but it's the thing we are dealing with everywhere and the more you think about it, what's more exciting than a brand new top of the line exercise facility that you can enjoy," Thompson said.
The YMCA members missing the pool can go next door to EmBe for a swim.