WAPAKONETA — An $8 million expansion of the Wapakoneta Family YMCA is nearly complete.
On Saturday, there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the opening of the new addition.
“This project started and continues to be about how successful collaborations can work, both with Mercy Health, Council on Rural Services, two local restaurants and the United Way of Auglaize County,” said Joshua Little, CEO of the Wapakoneta Family YMCA. “For us, it’s really about how do we serve the community more effectively, and we’re really excited to show how that can be done with collaboration.”
Several activities have been added for Y members.
“We have a 24-foot climbing wall. We have a lot of multi-purpose space, a new smaller gym, a new modern childcare babysitting room, a new licensed childcare space, a new hot tub and really almost all of the facility has been updated,” Little said.
Ground was broken for the project in November 2018. Peterson Construction of Wapakoneta was the general contractor, and Garmann Miller from Minster was the architect. Not everything is completely done inside, and a splash pad is still in the works outside. That is expected to open in 2021.
Using part of the new building is the Council on Rural Services.
“We have been operating Head Start in Auglaize County for about 45 years, and we’ve been in Wapakoneta for at least 21 years. We were approached by the YMCA to see if we wanted to partner and relocate our classes here about four years ago. So far, it’s been a great partnership,” said Dan Schwanitz, CEO of the Council on Rural Services.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollment in the Head Start program at the Wapak Y won’t be what they had hoped.
“We’re going to open up with only eight children a day in a classroom instead of 17 to 20, so we’re not able to expand immediately. But hopefully when we get back to full services, we’ll serve all 54 children,” Schwanitz said.
Mercy Health is another big partner in the expansion.
“We are just thrilled to be a part of this project to see it finally come to fruition and to be able to provide high-quality services here and in the Wapak community,” said Ronda Lehman, president of Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.