West Seattle YMCA announces it’s downsizing the expansion plan

Almost exactly one year after announcing an expansion plan for its HQ in The Triangle, the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) has a major update today: Construction costs have gone up, so the plan’s size has to go down. From the announcement:

…With rising construction costs and after careful consideration of fundraising efforts thus far, the original design will be modified with a focus on delivering the expanded Y in 2016.

Factors impacting the revised scope include:

• A booming Seattle construction market that has boosted the original project design cost to an estimated $12 million (including underground parking).

• $3.5 million has been raised to date from 240 generous local donors, putting the West Seattle YMCA on track to raise $4 million. The YMCA of Greater Seattle is matching this amount dollar for dollar, currently allowing for a project that costs approximately $8 million.

• Even with our continued plans to raise funds for the expanding West Seattle YMCA, board and staff leadership does not see a timely pathway to $12 million in funding.

Leadership staff and volunteers are working closely with donors and the project team to provide alternate plans that better fit the YMCA’s financial capacity. “We’re working with the project architect, Miller Hayashi, to keep focused on community need as we revise our expansion plans.” said Dave Kehle, Chair of the Building Committee.

Key components of the revised project will include:

• Expanded Fitness Space
• Family Programs Wing
• Family Changing Rooms
• Community Meeting Room with Healthy Eating Kitchen

The community will have an opportunity to view these plans at meetings in October. Dates for the meetings and updated information will be shared on OurNewY.org.

Fundraising continues in earnest with every dollar making a difference. New donors pledging $1,500 or more can double their impact by having their gift matched dollar for dollar by the Nucor-Pigott Community Challenge. …

The West Seattle YMCA will serve thousands more people annually with the expanded facility. The building will remain open during construction, with improvements happening in phases and completion expected in 2016.

Read the full announcement here. Full details of the revised plan haven’t been worked out yet, so there are no specific drawings or details yet.

23 Replies to "West Seattle YMCA announces it's downsizing the expansion plan"

  • K'lo September 9, 2015 (11:01 am)

    Are pledges tax deductible?

  • Kadoo September 9, 2015 (11:37 am)

    Yes. The Y is a non-profit.

  • Amanda September 9, 2015 (12:40 pm)

    does this mean that they’ll keep their racquetball courts?

  • Eric September 9, 2015 (1:36 pm)

    I agree with Amanda, save some money and keep the racquetball courts

  • RB September 9, 2015 (1:45 pm)

    I am sad about this. this facility really needs a facelift. i think more people would join if it had a more functional layout.

  • CouldHaveSeenThisComing September 9, 2015 (2:00 pm)

    This isn’t construction costs, this is a project that doesn’t meet the needs of our growing community. We saw this coming months ago when it was announced (read the comments here – http://westseattleblog.com/2014/09/west-seattle-ymca-announces-expansion-at-its-triangle-hq/). People want a better pool, and the Y thought they knew better.

    As a consequence, they aren’t able to attract broader community support (really, only 240 donors out of our ~85,000 person community?). And those that did support the expansion? Now they are getting even less for the same amount of money.

    I hope the Y goes back and finds a way to become relevant, and meet the growing needs of our community. Not the incremental ones of more parking spaces and a little more space for $8m.

  • Josh Sutton, YMCA September 9, 2015 (2:12 pm)

    Some design pieces are fluid right now as we get the right mix to move forward.

    Local Y Volunteers on the Building Committee are making sure it all adds up to fit within our budget, and includes expansion, the facelift we all agree this old building needs, and more functional layout for key areas, including fitness and youth programs.

    Although I know it disappoints some of our members, racquetball will still be repurposed to dedicated Family Programs & Tween space.

    Thanks for the comments and support as we move forward – looking forward to providing more detailed news in the next month!

  • Thomas M September 9, 2015 (2:12 pm)

    Build the parking or the whole thing is doomed to its current plight. All the “tenements” (euphemistically referred to as “micro housing” and “Apodments”) going in are only going to make it even harder to get around, much less park, in the Junction area. One already has to show up early at some of the groceries or some things are out of stock.

  • Jeff September 9, 2015 (2:16 pm)

    I’m sure land costs preclude it, but what they really need is just a whole new facility. The YMCA in Seatac is super nice! Wish we could have one like that here.

  • Josh Sutton, YMCA September 9, 2015 (3:10 pm)

    CHSTC – although it looks like our notes are sequenced, I submitted before yours had posted.
    My apologies for appearing not to reply to your comments.
    The number of donors to date represent the initial phases (first public year) of our capital campaign, and are in the ballpark of the lead & major gift work we’d expect for quantity and amount.
    In fact, at $3.5million, our 25 local Y volunteers have already exceeded what we were told could be raised from West Seattle.
    However, it’s a matter of how much, how fast, how soon can we start, and keeping up with (yes, really) a hot construction market.
    The Y Board and Leadership Staff felt the need to be transparent and re-set before we went out to the full WS Community to solicit gifts. Hence the announcement today.
    Although opinions may differ on the need and community drive for an expanded or new Y pool, when we tested that concept in the campaign study phases, the costs of that effort would be well beyond levels of local financial support.
    I encourage you (or other interested folks) to reach out to me directly at jsutton(at)seattleymca(dot)org, so I can hear your thoughts about how to ensure this Y (our building and programs) continues to be a vibrant, critical player in West Seattle’s expanding and changing needs.
    We look forward to hearing feedback from donors and the community, revising plans, and getting underway ASAP!

  • We gal September 9, 2015 (3:59 pm)

    Has LA fitness had an impact on these changes? That facility is great, big parking garage, huge facility with salt water pool.

  • Al September 9, 2015 (4:10 pm)

    Really advertizing for LA on here…

  • Shelly September 9, 2015 (4:21 pm)

    We made a donation awhile ago, and received a letter today stating the changes. The letter invited us to attend a meeting to discuss the changes. I appreciate how transparent the Y has been with this. The Y is also much more than just a gym; it serves the community in many ways, and a for-profit gym is not the same. Thanks West Seattle Y for supporting our community and the openness in the changes!

  • Lauren September 9, 2015 (5:19 pm)

    I love the West Seattle YMCA. It’s disappointing to see that the construction counterpart is just too costly for the other improvements, at this juncture. When you look at it, the LA Fitness pool has only three lanes–whereas the Y has six, though two of those lanes are divided into areas for water exercise, etc. It’s still a giant pool, and it’s definitely a great one, at that. I go to the YMCA all the time, and have been a member at other YMCA facilities in Austin and Dallas, and I think the organization as a whole does so much for their communities that I would never think of going to another gym. I wish this YMCA had a contributor like the Downtown Dallas YMCA did–T. Boone Pickens donated something like $5 million to help renovate that YMCA, and the overhaul was amazing.

  • Bummer September 9, 2015 (6:49 pm)

    My pipe dream is the the Y would make a regulation sized pool. Or maybe even a warmer teaching/water aerobic pool and leave the larger pool for lap swimming. The lack of convieniant lap swim times forced us to cancel our membership. Which was a bummer because we both enjoy going there.

  • My two cents ... September 9, 2015 (8:56 pm)

    Hopefully the leadership of the YMCA will provide some increased security or cameras for the parking lots. Park there before 8:00 am and you stand a good chance of your car being broken into. Then again, the membership has raised this issue before …. I’m sure any efforts will be “scaled back” by the West Seattle YMCA leadership along with their other plans. They might find more support within the membership ranks if they could just take of the basics – inside and outside of their facility.

  • M September 9, 2015 (10:04 pm)

    Someone please help me understand why the Y is so expensive. I have looked at joining as a family but it’s like $120+. I could get a membership at La Fitness for much less than that with a brand new facility. Seems like the only thing additional one gets from the Y is a subsidy for low income membership.

  • BMC September 10, 2015 (9:27 am)

    Mr Sutton – somewhat off-topic but could help with overcrowding issue; how about opening the WS Y earlier than 10AM on Sundays. A quick survey of other facilities shows that a 10AM Sunday start is atypical: University 8AM, Bellevue 7AM, Coal Creek 8AM, Downtown 8AM, Snoqualmie 8AM. I didn’t check all the facilities. Many f/t m-f workers and those with families would appreciate a quick work-out early in the day on Sunday and this time could also be used to expand lap swim times. So can you explain why 10AM is still the start time? There would appear to be plenty of trained staff. Thank you for considering.

  • my two cents ... September 10, 2015 (9:41 am)

    @M The WS YMCA is turning away the market segment that wants to work out, exercise. The value proposition for the gym/fitness aspects of the WS YMCA is very poor. You also have to pay for classes in order use “extra” equipment (TRX, Kettleballs). It seems as if membership at the Y now entails contributing and subsidizing other members — with the gym aspects thrown in as a bonus gift.

    @BMC – true, they are not keeping up with the competition (but then again, the competition won’t have a kitchen!)

  • WS4life September 10, 2015 (12:26 pm)

    $8 million dollars to put more lipstick on the pig that the WS YMCA is. $8mil for a superficial facelift, a kitchen (really!), and basically just more wasted space. What an extravagant expenditure of $8million dollars. This will do nothing to address the current or future problems this YMCA has i.e. pool parking overcrowding.
    What WS really needs is an aquatic center. Save your money folks.

  • Katie September 10, 2015 (4:22 pm)

    Comments about the Y’s value omit something critically important to me: the ability to use other Ys. I use them all over the US, at no additional fee. You can use them internationally, too,
    Plus, you can’t beat them for friendliness. I love the members and the staff. I really like that it’s multi-ethnic. The Y is a welcome change from the pressured sales atmosphere of clubs.
    Sure, I wish the pool were better, but I love this community. (And I head to Matt Griffin Y to swim when I can).

  • rockhills September 10, 2015 (7:34 pm)

    Keep the racquetball courts! They are the ONLY reason I go there.

  • Jahrmark September 16, 2015 (9:32 pm)

    As a longtime member and supporter, I think the West Seattle Y is very poorly managed and run, and the plans for the remodel do little to improve it’s value. Does the community really need to tear out the only racquetball courts in West Seattle to put in a kitchen and Tweener meeting area, rather than use them for multiple purposes? Why are the locker rooms and bathrooms always so dirty, and why doesn’t the Y even answer phones on weekends when people most want to use it? Why does it cost nearly twice as much for membership as LA Fitness, which has far superior new facilities? I think they need to start over, starting with new management.

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