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YMCA kicks fundraising into gear for Phase 2 construction

Since its construction in 2010, the Fayette County YMCA has outgrown its facility in its few short years of operation. That’s the reason, according to CEO Ben Frazier, that The Y’s fund raising campaign was begun. So far, more than a quarter of the needed funding has been raised.

The Phase 2 campaign has set out to raise approximately $1.5 million to cover the cost of the facility additions. With a 40-week lead-time on materials and a 10-month construction timeline, the Y’s board is looking to have this accomplished around the 2022-2023 timeframe. Within the first four months of campaigning, nearly $400,000 has been raised so far through private donations, corporations, and small businesses.

In March of 2021, The Y went public with their Phase 2 expansion plans and is looking to add an additional 18,000 square feet to the existing facility as well as five acres, or program space, adjacent to Miller Field.

This expansion will provide a second gymnasium, larger wellness center, more multi-purpose rooms, community rooms, program spaces, larger and more efficient lobby, more restrooms and storage areas.

When completed, The Family YMCA of Fayette County will have a 40,000 square foot facility that resides on 15 acres of program space, the largest in the State of Illinois.

In the last several years, the facility’s board has reinvested more than $200,000 in facility improvements, efficiency upgrades, and overall infrastructure capacities.

Frazier states, “We have the hardest working staff that can provide any program to meet the needs of our service area. We have done all that we can in our existing capacity to make this organization the most sustainable and productive that it can be; we just have one problem – not enough space. We are here to strengthen the community and these increased capacities will allow us to further that mission.”

The Y accomplishes this through programs that promote youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, he added. Chances are that those who reside within a 40-mile radius of the Y’s location it is likely that either they, their family, or their friends have been impacted through The Y’s programs.

The Family YMCA of Fayette County is a nonprofit organization where many families and individuals go to enjoy the many services offered. Whether children who participate in summer camp, or someone who has joined adult sports leagues, or maybe an active older adult who utilizes services to socialize and stay healthy, going to The Y has one commonality and that is “community,” Frazier says.

As The Y is a community organization, it looks to make its campaign just that, the CEO explained. “No donation is too big or too small. Whether a small business or just a family within the community wanting to help out; no matter the size of the donation, it will help.”

Despite the last year of uncertainties and economic challenges that were produced from the COVID-19 pandemic, The Y has seen record high numbers with the number of members and program participants. The Y has over 2,100 members and nearly 2,000 program participants who span across a five-county area to provide a community footprint of 60,000 people per year.

In its current 17,000 square foot facility and nine-acre campus, The Y is pushing the limits of its capacity and has been for more than five years now, Frazier said. “Summer camps, afterschool programs, day camps, wellness education and community collaborations are just some of the increased programming that we can provide in our new facility. The possibilities are truly endless and the potential that our community has is incredible.”

When asked what the future holds for The Y, Frazier goes on to finish by saying, “Our infrastructure, dedicated staff, and community support has made The Y a sustainable organization. Ultimately that’s the beauty of The Y; the organization will be here long after us to continue providing positive change for our future generations. We’re not just raising money for now, we are raising money and planning for long into the future.”

Those interested in donating to The Y may do so through the mail, through The Y’s website: fayetteymca.com, over the phone, or in house with any of their staff members. Those with questions regarding The Family YMCA of Fayette County or Phase 2 plans, may call the office at 618-283-1258.

A view of a proposed look at the enlarged wellness section of the Fayette County Family YMCA after planned renovations are complete sometime within the next two years.

An artists rendition of how the lobby will look after the proposed expansion of the Fayette County Family YMCA in phase 2.