- Your Town
YMCA moves closer to adding Phase II
Gym with running track
CEO Todd Rouse of the Southwest Montana Family YMCA recently announced that he and the board of directors are on the verge of moving forward with the addition of Phase II, a construction project that would add a gymnasium and other amenities to the existing structure. With $2 million in pledges already raised for the project, the fundraising mode will at some point evolve to construction time.
“I think it will soon be a reality, we’re just fund-raising a little more and getting closer to our overall goal,” said Rouse last week.
A multi-purpose gymnasium has been a dream addition for the facility since the plans were altered to eliminate the gym due to budget constraints in the original construction of the YMCA.
The Temple Sloan Foundation and the J.C. Kennedy Foundation, both with ties to southwestern Montana, have each pledged $1 million to the project.
“The Temple Sloan Foundation initially was very good to the Y, and throughout the years they have been very good to the Y,” said Rouse. “It was their vision, along with the original board of the YMCA, to see what was called Phase 2, which is his Family Center.”
The $1 million gift from the J.C. Kennedy Foundation has already been deposited in the Capital Campaign Account. Rouse praised the Kennedy Foundation’s commitment to the expansion project and their generosity to other worthy causes in the area.
In the current vision, the Family Center will attract adults and children to new programing like evening basketball leagues, volleyball, indoor soccer and indoor tennis and endless other programming possibilities. Rouse can image the Family Center hosting community events and feels that the banked indoor track around the gym floor will ultimately prove to be extremely popular for the fitness crowd during the poor weather months of the year and even the occasional poor weather day during the summer and early fall.
Phase II will also include a group fitness room, a PTA space and a room for Child Watch After School. Valuable storage space will be included in the new addition as well as laundry facilities. The plan will also call for upgrades in the existing building that houses the swimming pools, weight room and dressing rooms. Currently, all the laundry is taken home and washed by volunteers.
Right now, we have bids out and there are some things that still need to be figured out, but we have an idea of what it is going to be,” said Rouse of the financial goal. “I would say if we raise another $500,000 to $1 million, we can start building.”
Rouse added that the YMCA will not incur debt to move forward with construction, but will instead have the funding in place before moving dirt and hauling in lumber.
“I have told the board, I will not build the facility if we have to borrow money to do that,” said Rouse. “We have to come up with $68,000 a year to make a loan payment taken out to finish the first project. That is not an easy thing to do. I lose a lot of sleep over it.”
Rouse says that the Sloan Foundation has “graciously” allowed part of their gift to payoff the balance of the outstanding loan. The 15-year loan has under $400,000 left on the note.
“Not too many donors want to give money to debt, so that offer was very much appreciated by myself and the board,” Rouse added.
For those who would like to make a tax deductible donation to the Southwest Montana Family YMCA, they can call Rouse at 683-9622.
Rouse emphasized that any construction plans that may come about will not come with a corresponding raise in fees to utilize the YMCA. He feels the rates in Dillon, at the bottom two of fees charged at YMCA facilities throughout Montana, need to remain affordable to maintain a high volume of facility users. He sees a future YMCA with all fitness needs found under the familiar roof growing the current Southwest Montana Family YMCA even larger.
“I want a one-stop shop,” said Rouse. “Dillon has never had a fitness facility that has had a pool, free weights, selectorize machines, cardio machines, all under the same roof. Add a gymnasium on top of that and you can understand why the members are really excited.”