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YMCA cuts ribbon on expanded facility Wednesday

WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA is celebrating the grand opening of its expansion this week with a ribbon cutting Wednesday morning.

Executive Director Theresa Wittenberg said the staff is excited to introduce the community to its expanded facility.

After a ribbon cutting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Whitney Music will provide music during the day while the YMCA staff provides tours and demonstrations of classes and new equipment.

An open house will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Using $2.6 million raised in the community, the YMCA has doubled the wellness center space, expanded the wellness studio and added a multi-purpose gym and two racquetball courts.

Wittenberg said the Y’s board of directors decided they wanted to complete the project without going into debt, so the new gym and running track are a bit smaller than planned.

Several businesses and foundations made major donations for the project, and many individuals and families in the community gave what they could, too, she said.

“This area really is blessed to have such generous donors,” she said. The project received support from nearly 900 donors, including businesses, individuals, staff members and volunteers.

The Y’s first structure opened in 2002, and by a couple years ago, a facility designed to serve 3,000 people was serving nearly 6,000, Wittenberg said.

The expansion will allow more room for people to exercise and make access easier for members.

Because the work was an expansion and not a remodeling, the Y was able to continue operations with little disruption, she said. The expansion project broke ground in October 2013.

Still, the staff is heaving a sigh of relief to have the fundraising and the distractions of construction finished, she said. “Now, we’ve been settling in and exploring the space.”

When Summer Day Camp starts next week, the new gym will be its home base, and campers will have a hand in decorating the gym as well planting and tending the garden. The facility will have more indoor room for kids on rainy days, Wittenberg said.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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