Adding on for a Growing Family

Chippewa Valley Family YMCA ponders a new capital campaign for renovation, expansion

Hannah Mumm

Chippewa Valley Family YMCA.
Chippewa Valley Family YMCA.

The YMCA is a gathering place for the whole community. It is meant to be an inclusive space – it’s not limited to those who can afford membership at an upscale gym – that promoting wellness and opportunity on a large scale. The Chippewa Valley Family YMCA has provided just that to the people of Chippewa Falls for years, but with a growing population, they’ve begun to outgrow their facility.

“In the past three to five years, we have consistently dealt with deficient space for our programming and member needs,” explains Jennifer Sherbinow, the YMCA’s executive director.

The solution: Build bigger.

After 10 years of talk about expansion and renovation, the YMCA’s executive board has begun to make tangible steps toward a comprehensive expansion plan. The project is still in its infancy as a feasibility study is under way. With the help of Crescendo Fundraising Professionals, the YMCA has distributed surveys to community members and stakeholders, held focus groups, and conducted exploratory interviews to determine the practicality of their $10 million budget.

When the campaign finds ample financial support, the board will take steps toward brick-and-mortar implementation.

The project consists of four key components: aquatics, school-age space, gymnasium, and fitness and wellness areas.

The proposed additions to the aquatic center would benefit swimmers and spectators alike. The board hopes to add a larger pool, zero-depth entry for young families, a slide, warm water areas for swimming lessons and aquatic therapy, and a seating area for parents and families.

Space constraints are a pressing issue for school-age children in the YMCA facilities. After-school care has diffused into Chippewa Falls elementary schools, and their summer camp Chip-a-Y-a filled up just four hours into registration this year. Much of the extra space included in the expansion plan would be dedicated to young kids, opening opportunities to a larger population.

A new gymnasium would allow for more open-gym time, and expanded fitness facilities would give community members opportunities to work out however they choose, from utilizing the Y’s personal trainers to lifting weights basked in natural light.

The renovations would benefit the bodies and minds of people across Chippewa Falls. Wellness surveys conducted in the local hospital identified mental health, substance abuse, and lifestyle-related issues such as obesity and diabetes as key health problems plaguing the community. According to Sherbinow, improving the YMCA is an important step toward bettering community health.

“The hope is that this new and improved Y could serve the community for well over 30 to 50 years and be a benefit many generations to come,” she said.

Learn more about the Chippewa Valley Family YMCA at chippewaymca.com.