The YMCA of Coastal Georgia is investing $1.6 million in capital improvements at the facilities of the YMCA of West Chatham in Pooler. This fall, Coastal Georgia’s busiest branch will see essential infrastructure renovations such as its gym space, lobby and parking lot that will modernize and expand the wellness center.
The investment represents the YMCA of Coastal Georgia’s first major capital project in Chatham County since 2005 and serves as the start of a long-term investment strategy to meet community trends and needs in the community. association, reads the YMCA press release.
“With this much-needed renovation, we are looking to the future and working to ensure our facilities and services are ready to serve for the next 50 years,” said Joel Smoker, CEO of YCMA of Coastal Georgia.
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Demographic and modernization studies took place in 2018 before the pandemic delayed strategic planning. With the schedule back on track, renovations to the 50-acre resort are expected to begin in September and be completed by next April or May, according to Smoker.
The current floor of the fitness center will be opened to make room for additional activities and new equipment. The lobby, which members and students often use as a workspace or lounge area, will also be redone.
New state-of-the-art wellness activities and programs, such as LIVESTRONG at the YMCA and a self-monitoring blood pressure program combined with the EGYM intelligent strength system, will streamline and personalize the fitness experience of visitors.
Other programs such as YMCA water safety programs, nutrition education, chronic disease prevention programs, summer day camp programs will also benefit from this investment, Summer Bozeman said. , director of communications and marketing for the YCMA of Coastal Geo
Programs and activities will continue during the renovations, Smoker said. The fitness center will most likely be moved to the gymnasium. After-school and daycare programs will migrate out of the lodge and remain compliant with state licensing standards, Smoker added.
All of this encompasses phase 1 of the long-term capital strategy. A phase 2 has not yet started as funding has not yet been identified.
With the upcoming remodel, the facility hopes to improve the general health of the local community as it emerges from a pandemic that has lasted for years, Smoker said.
The Coastal Georgia YMCA cites a recent Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study that found body mass index in children ages 2 to 19 nearly doubled after the pandemic.
Smoker acknowledged that people are struggling to pay for health care. Residents may not be able to afford the monthly fee of $53 for individuals or the $66 for a two-adult household. The YMCA has scholarship programs and income-based funding for those struggling financially, he pointed out.
“That’s where the Y comes in — we invest in proven programs to prevent and control chronic disease and improve health outcomes by supporting people with welcoming places for physical activity, educational opportunities nutrition and a peer support community,” Smoker said. .
Growth of West Chatham
Since 1989, the YMCA of Coastal Georgia has grown from two branches in one county to 10 in seven counties in response to the rapid growth of suburban communities in the area.
Over the past several decades, the population of western Chatham County has grown exponentially. In 2000, the towns west of Chatham – Pooler, Port Wentworth, Garden City and Bloomingdale – had a combined population of around 23,500.
By 2020, that number had more than doubled to 49,400.
Most of this growth has come from Pooler and Port Wentworth, where vast subdivisions have taken over previously undeveloped land. Relatively affordable housing and increased employment spurred by commercial and industrial sectors have attracted residents from across the map.
As a result, Pooler’s YCMA facility has witnessed population boom and business growth.
In 2001 when the center opened it was one of the few businesses on the section of Pooler Parkway. Today, the Main Corridor is one of the busiest roads in the Savannah area, connecting major subdivisions to commercial businesses and the two freeways, 95 and 16.
“Pooler is no longer the sleepy community it used to be,” Smoker said.
Currently, Pooler Y has approximately 7,000 members and an additional 1,700 program participants. In 2021, the establishment had about 120,000 visitors, but Smoker added that things are still picking up speed since the pandemic.
Learn more about the YMCA of Coastal Georgia or find a location near you:
Nancy Guan is the general assignment reporter covering Chatham County municipalities. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @nancyguann.
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