By Rob Montana
ITHACA – If you’ve been to the YMCA of Ithaca and Tompkins County in the last month, you’ve probably noticed a brighter look, warmer temperatures in the pool and a completely renovated changing room.
It’s not the imagination, the Y recently undertook a number of capital improvement projects, improving the facility for those who take advantage of what the organization has to offer.
“We wanted to improve the facility to better serve the people in the community,” said Frank Towner, executive director of the YMCA of Ithaca and Tompkins County. “When things are consistent and clean, and the equipment works, that’s the jackpot.”
Much of the work, he noted, isn’t something readily seen – for example, replacement of the rooftop air handling unit. With previous work accomplished in the pump room, a new boiler installed and ductwork being completed, an energy savings will be realized as a result and the air quality will be improved in the pool and locker room areas.
“Now it’s the same every day,” Towner said of pool area temperatures. “Folks who do exercises like it warmer, and they like the consistency.”
What is apparent to the eye is the painting done throughout the facility to match the Y national organization’s new color scheme. Borg Warner was a big supporter of the painting work, which extended into the gymnasium. New equipment also replaced older machines in several areas.
Another notable improvement that is highly visible – the special needs locker room has been fully renovated and thoroughly refurbished, and has been renamed simply “The Changing Room.” The project, funded entirely by Tompkins Trust Company, has enabled the room to be modified to fully accommodate people with disabilities, with a new contemporary flooring that is microbial, as well as new lockers, shower fixtures, bathroom, sink and benches. The work was completed by Facilities Director Dillon Coon, Outdoor Education Director Ryan Allen and member Scott Jones, who was the flooring specialist.
Towner said all the recent improvements – and plans for the future – wouldn’t be possible without generous support the Y has received from its many corporate and individual donors. Not only do they help support the work being done, but they also help fund the organization’s scholarship program. Towner said the Y funds about 2,200 scholarships, at a value of $160,000.
“We support people who couldn’t come to the Y without the scholarship,” he said. “If we didn’t get the support from our community, we would have to reduce how many scholarships we could offer.
“That helps us in our goal,” Towner added. “Improving the lives of people in the community – that’s what we’re trying to do.”
For more information about the YMCA of Ithaca and Tompkins County, visit its website at www.IthacaYMCA.com.