COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
A seniors' swim class takes place in the new pool on the YMCA Dood Cristall facility's first day of opening to the public, Monday afternoon.
After two years of construction, a few delays and much anticipation, the $18.5-million Dood Cristall Family YMCA has finally opened its doors to the public.
Angela Forsythe leads a tour of new members on the YMCA Dood Cristall facility's first day of opening to the public, Monday afternoon. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
An overhead view of the gymnasium on the YMCA Dood Cristall facility's first day of opening to the public, Monday afternoon. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
Staff members greet the public at the front desk on the YMCA Dood Cristall facility's first day of opening to the public, Monday afternoon. (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
Members gushed about the new facility after completing their first workout in the new complex on Monday morning.
"It was pretty amazing. There’s lots of space," said Michelle Kirkham, who attended an aquafit class.
Sisters Ashlee and Trina Elke liked the fact that there are many staff members to help people get acquainted with the new surroundings.
"I like how there’s another (member services) desk upstairs in case you have questions about where anything is," Ashlee said, adding "it’s much cooler in here."
Trina liked the spacious feel of the exercise room, which includes more than $200,000 in new fitness and weight equipment.
"I felt that everything upstairs in the fitness room was more spread out," Trina said. "In the old one, it was literally two rooms combined and everything was so bunched together."
Both sisters are looking forward to trying out fitness classes, such as Zumba and yoga.
Families with young children came to check out the new facility as well, taking in the play structure in the Strong Kids Zone and going for a swim in the new pool.
"It was like Christmas morning for the kids," said Jennifer Shields, who came to the YMCA with her three boys, who are two, three and five.
"We’re very excited about it," she said. "We spent a lot of time at the old facility."
The 50,000-square-foot complex is located behind the old Brandon Family YMCA on Eighth Street.
CEO Lon Cullen called the first morning in operation "hectically busy," but with "lots and lots of excitement."
"It’s been two years of construction and a couple years of planning before that time, so this is a major milestone for us and for our YMCA in Brandon," Cullen said.
A major highlight of the new complex is the number of windows, which brings a lot of natural light into the building. The aquatic centre includes a waterside, lazy river, hot tub, steam room and four-lane, 25-metre pool. The area looks out onto Princess Avenue with floor to ceiling windows.
Cullen is proud of the way the facility was designed to make the various areas more connected.
"When you walk in our front door, you see the play structure, you see the pool, you see the adults upstairs, you see the day camps happening … so it’s a real people place," he said.
The YMCA has been specifically planned to focus on family needs and programs. The complex offers many family-friendly features, including a family change room, child minding while parents work out and an indoor play structure.
"We can look after your children while you go and have a workout," Cullen said. "If they’re a little bit older, your kids might be in swimming lessons … and you can work out upstairs."
Whether you’re a senior or a child, Cullen says the new YMCA will have "something for everybody."
Fitness classes will begin Sept. 16, including boot camp, yoga, treadmill drills and step interval, among many others. Visit ymcabrandon.com for a full list of programs and classes.
The YMCA of Brandon is a charitable organization whose mission is to foster the growth and development of people and communities in spirit, mind and body.
The old building, built in 1966, will be demolished to make way for a parking lot for the new facility. Cullen said work is to begin immediately, with a completion goal by the end of October.
"Our goal is to try to have the outside hardscaping — paving, sidewalks — done by the middle to end of October, before freezing time," he said.
Through its partnership with the Y, the city will contribute $4 million in upfront capital to the project and then contribute $100,000 each year in operating funding, while the provincial and federal governments will kick in $4 million and $2.4 million, respectively.
The Brandon YMCA’s Strengthening Our Core capital campaign has raised more than $5 million from friends of the YMCA and the community of Brandon.
The Cristall family is the lead donor to the project at $850,000. As part of the capital campaign, rooms inside will also be named for individual donors.
Membership costs have gone up between three to six per cent, depending on the category.
Anyone with an existing membership will pay the existing rates for one year.
Monthly membership rates are $25 (15 and under), $36 (16-25), $51 (26+), $46.50 (65+) and $90 (family).
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 27, 2013