Donors get sneak peek at new Mystic YMCA

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Mystic — Some of the approximately 400 project donors gathered at The Naik Family Branch of the Ocean Community YMCA on Wednesday night for a sneak peek at the $7.2 million expansion and renovation slated to open Sept. 30.

What they saw were a new two-story entrance that orients the building to overlook the Mystic River, a large atrium with 30-foot ceilings and a fireplace and a 7,500-square-foot fitness space on the second floor with large glass windows that also overlook the river.

Groundbreaking took place in August 2017 and for much of the time since, members have been forced to use the gym, half of which was turned into a fitness area. The refurbished pool and two of the new locker rooms were opened this summer.

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the donors, the community and our members who stayed with us (during construction). It wasn’t always the best conditions but they kept coming,” YMCA President and CEO Maureen Fitzgerald said.

She added that the expanded facility will help the YMCA spread its mission throughout the region as it will now have a large teen center, community room and family locker rooms, amenities it did not have in the past.

The facility had been known as the Mystic branch of the Ocean Community YMCA but the name change was announced after Sekhar and Archana Naik of Mystic donated $1.2 million toward the project.

Fitzgerald said that after the new section of the YMCA opens Sept. 30, work will begin to refurbish the existing gym. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the entire facility is expected in mid-November.

She added the larger facility also means the YMCA has hired four new full-time directors and 20 part-time employees.

During tours Wednesday night, donors first saw a first-floor community room that can hold classes, parties and meetings and, like most areas of the expansion, looks out over the river. There is also an outdoor terrace that will have Adirondack chairs.

Another area overlooks the pool and provides access to two family locker rooms, something that did not exist in the old YMCA.

There also will be a coffee bar off the lobby, a spinning room with 25 bikes, a large teen center, and a child watch room with an indoor wooden playscape and its own bathroom where members can drop off their children for up to two hours.

In what Regina Bartlett, director of membership engagement at the YMCA’s Acadia, R.I., branch, called “the most incredible view from a treadmill ever,” the second-floor wellness center will offer all new equipment, including 15 treadmills. Branch Director Tanner Evak said there will be no television monitors on the walls to interfere with the water views, as each treadmill will have its own television screen.

There also will be separate yoga and wellness studios, which will have specialized flooring and individual temperature control and sound systems that can accommodate different types of classes and hold 30 to 40 people each.

There is greatly expanded parking, and 20 new trees will be planted and two rain gardens installed. The old main entrance will be an auxiliary entrance, possibly for employees, with a conference room and bathroom. The 1983 plaque from the original Mystic Community Center remains on the wall.


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