Construction workers have been busy putting the finishing touches on the newest addition to YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region — a $6.5 million facility in the First & Main Town Center in the northeast section of Colorado Springs.

A grand opening celebration is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 16. Among the planned festivities are giveaways and tours.

Located at 3035 New Center Point near the intersection of South Carefree Drive and Powers Boulevard, the new Y will occupy a refurbished and re-purposed 46,000 square-foot building that previously housed a family entertainment and food business called IT’Z that went out of business two years ago.

“The community has definitely been waiting,” said Jeff Peterson, the Y’s executive vice president and CEO who was at the building recently, inspecting the on-going work. “We expect about 10,000 to 12,000 people will potentially be using this Y.

“We’re trying to utilize the space in the most feasible way we can,” Peterson said. “We had to do some reconfiguring and a lot of cosmetic-type of work. The building was still wide open in a lot of places, and we had to put in walls here and there, but it’s worked out very well.

“The east side of the city really needs a YMCA and we’re really excited about being able to serve and make a deep impact for our community. It’s not our biggest facility we have, but it’s more open, more sociable and engaging.”

Theresa McDonough, chief development and marketing officer, agreed.

“It’s amazing what’s going to take place inside this building,” she said during a walk-through of the facility. “It’s a beautiful facility for people in a variety of ways.”

The sheer size of the building is impressive. Plans call for a lobby/welcome center; several multi-purpose rooms; a large group exercise area; a lounge for members and guests; a large Learn & Play center for young children; locker rooms with restroom and shower facilities; a small gymnasium and basketball court; the Samuel Laib Healthy Living Center that features a wide variety of new exercise machines; a cycling and cardiac cinema room; and a playground at the back of the building. Also planned are administrative offices and a staff lounge.

For parents, the Learn & Play center promises to be a much-used amenity.

“Parents can bring children for two and half hours a day to the Learn & Play center, which is included in their membership, and then work out or read a book,” McDonough said. “It’s not just a babysitting service. It’s a place where kids can play and learn under the supervision of a well-educated staff.”

Learn & Play attendants are certified in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), AED (automated external defibrillation) procedures and first aid procedures.

The agenda of programs offered at the eight locations of the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region is extensive, both for young members and seniors. For youngsters, the organization conducts sports programs, dance lessons, art and cooking lessons, and the gym and basketball area of the First & Main facility will be available for kids to use during after-school hours.

Programs geared toward seniors include several that are conducted in partnership with other senior organizations, including AARP and the Colorado Senior Center. They include Hike of Life, consisting of monthly group hikes at area parks; pickleball; the SilverSneaker Fitness Program, designed to increase muscular strength, mobility and cardiovascular fitness; and programs focusing on balance and fall prevention, aging and yoga.

“We’ll have a variety of programs at different times of day and on different days of the week,” McDonough said. She also noted that the First and Main YMCA plans to stay open until 11 p.m., later than other Ys, because of previous requests from many YMCA members.

McDonough also credited the Y’s many donors for making the new eastside facility possible.

“We know how important it is for donors to step up,” she said. “They believe in what the Y does and the impact that this Y is going to have.”

The new building and its new workout equipment might be viewed by some as providing serious competition to the area’s health clubs.

“We’re not looking at it that way,” McDonough said. “The Y is unique. As a nonprofit organization, it’s about just a place to come and to be.”

Added Peterson, “The three areas of focus which really drive our cause are youth development, social responsibility and healthy living. So, we’re here for every person who needs us from any walk of life.”

For membership information about the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region, go to ppymca.org.

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