Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Upgrades get Y in shape

Fairfield facility additions boost community mission

By Anna Guido
Enquirer contributor

FAIRFIELD — A major renovation and expansion project is getting the Fairfield YMCA up to date in its offerings for family recreation.

“Our facilities for fitness were adequate, but these improvements will really give us a boost and help us fulfill our mission for the community,” executive director Jeff Piontek said.

The 33-year-old Fairfield Y at 5220 Bibury Road is getting a new fitness center with computerized equipment, aerobics studio, warm water therapy pool, whirlpool, sauna, teen center, childcare room, outdoor playland and reception area.

The existing cool-water competitive pool and locker rooms were upgraded last year.

Mr. Piontek said the modifications being made will allow the facility to provide multiple offerings suitable for an entire family, which is not “cutting edge” for other, newer Y facilities in the region.

February is the expected completion date for all of the work.

Some things, such as the racquetball courts, will not be changed.

The Fairfield Y is one of four Great Miami Valley YMCAs in Butler County. Founded in 1914, Great Miami Valley also operates Hamilton Central, Hamilton West and the new East Butler County Y.

In a market study three years ago on potential upgrades and expansions to the Y system, members and other residents in surrounding communities indicated they would be willing to pay for facility improvements at all three Ys and build a fourth facility near Liberty Township.

The results were overwhelming.

“The group that did our study did more than 450 other studies across the nation,” Great Miami Valley Y president Jim Williams said.

“About a third of the time, they say don't expand. With us, it was yes, expand, you've got a home run.”

The suburban area's population growth, particularly in nearby Liberty Township, was a leading factor in the Y's decision to build the new East Butler County Y at Morris and Princeton roads.

That Y opened in March 2002.

Its membership (drawn mostly from Fairfield and Liberty townships) already is approaching 9,000 and has nearly doubled the Great Miami Valley Y system's total membership to nearly 20,000.

The new Y cost $6.8 million. Upgrades to the other three Ys cost $4.2 million, for a total of $11 million. Of that amount, the Great Miami Valley Y raised $8 million.

The largest donation of $2.5 million came from Fort Hamilton Hospital, which operates a rehabilitation facility out of the new East Butler County Y.

Hospital and YMCA partnerships are growing in popularity and allow hospitals to be part of a health/wellness center without building separate facilities. They also encourage patients to move into a lifestyle of good physical health once they are rehabilitate, and allow Ys to expand their programs.


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