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The Daily Tar Heel

Longtime YMCA renovations complete

YMCA members attend a total body strength class in the main studio on March 23.

YMCA members attend a total body strength class in the main studio on March 23.

The renovation includes a new lobby, an expanded wellness area, an additional studio for classes and a redesigned youth area, said Greg Lee, spokesman for several area YMCAs.

Lee said the entire upstairs of the YMCA was redesigned to include a modern lobby with an open layout, and the glass separating the lobby from the main wellness area downstairs was removed to create a more open feeling. He said the lobby was also opened up to create a place where people can sit and chat after working out.

“People go to classes and then hang out,” he said. “They build interests and make friends.”

The renovations were paid for with funds saved by the YMCA over the years, Lee said.

“It was a long time coming,” Lee said. “Everyone is really excited and happy to have the space back.”

He said the renovation also included moving administrative offices downstairs to a smaller, shared space to allow room for more wellness space upstairs. There are now machines and open space for exercises with balls, mats and bands where the offices once were, and new TVs were added to the wellness area.

About 5,000 members were using six treadmills before the number of machines was doubled, Lee said.

He also said there are now two studios for classes instead of one, so classes can be held simultaneously, with new floors, ceilings and mirrors in both studios. Lee said some classes were moved to the gym or off-site during the renovation, but they’re all back and running now, although he said the Zumba class that was moved to the gym is too large to be moved back to a studio.

The new studios have glass walls that allow people in the lobby to see in.

“I like the fact people can see in,” said Kevin Cragwell, health enhancement director. “There’s an energy transfer between the instructor and class, and the more people joining in adds energy.”

Lee said the youth area that 250 kids use after school during the school year was also updated. There are new tables and chairs, bathrooms and a new child watch center.

Member Bob Epting said he was especially happy with how the renovations turned out. In 2013, he and some YMCA members protested the facility’s decision to remove its racquetball courts in order to make room for the renovations.

“We’re happy that the courts are maintained,” he said. “There were times when some user groups felt like they weren’t invited to be part of the conversation, but when they spoke up they became part of the conversation. I praise the board for that.”

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