Officials ‘Enthusiastic’ for Snoqualmie Valley YMCA Expansion, Possible Pool

If you ask new Snoqualmie Valley YMCA Director Nate Smith one of the most common questions he gets since taking over the helm of the busy facility this summer, it’s probably “When will there be a pool?”  Smith estimates he fields that question on daily basis.

And it’s been the million dollar question since the Snoqualmie Y opened in January 2012.

The answer isn’t simple. And to get there you have to understand the facility’s history  – because just a decade ago the community center was a contentious topic in the small, growing city of Snoqualmie.

Three times – in 2002, 2006 and 2008 – the city floated a bond to fund a much larger community center and pool. Three times voter’s rejected the proposal.

With nearly $4 million dollars in mitigation and REET funds and land provided when the master-planned community of Snoqualmie Ridge was approved in 1997 – money and land that could only legally be used for a community center – the city knew it had to do something to bring the long-promised center to residents.

So it entered into a construction and operational agreement with the YMCA of Greater Seattle, which basically boils down to a legal agreement where the city funded the construction and the Y runs the place.

And to date it’s a partnership that has worked out extremely well, with the 13,000 square foot facility having one of the highest YMCA citizen membership saturation rates in the country.

It’s also busy. Before and after school child care programs and summer camps are packed. The workout room bursts at the seems during certain hours. The teen room sees local kids coming and going when school lets out. Meeting rooms are tightly scheduled.

So will the facility get bigger – or get a pool to serve the aquatic needs of the Snoqualmie Valley? After all, most residents agree the limited pool space at North Bend’s Si View Community Center is not large enough to serve the area’s population.

The answer is probably yes, but a timeline has yet to be determined.

The Snoqualmie Y’s building was designed and situated on the land parcel to accommodate future expansions, including a possible pool.  The grassy areas surrounding the building are those expansion areas. In the front of the gym and community rooms facing Ridge Street – on the grass slopped area – is space for a possible pool.  And outside of the workout room’s big windows that face the adjacent park’s soccer field and basketball court is space to make the that area larger.

According to Mayor Larson, last year city officials had an extensive conversation with Bob Gilbertson, CEO of the greater Seattle YMCA region, about the expansion. Larson said while Gilbertson is enthusiastic about expanding the Snoqualmie Valley Y, both parties agreed that the dust would need to settle on the Y’s significant investment of resources, focus and time currently expended on the new Sammamish YMCA project.

The City of Sammamish and the YMCA of Greater Seattle recently entered into a partnership agreement similar to Snoqualmie’s to build and operate the large (approximately 60,000 square foot) facility that is expected to open in early 2016, with former Snoqualmie YMCA Director Dave Mayer running the new place.

Mayor Larson said he expects Snoqualmie YMCA expansion conversations to restart in earnest in about a year, but as to when a second phase might be built or completed is still highly speculative at this time.


Snoqualmie Valley YMCA/Community Center situated on land parcel for future expansion , with possible pool, in grassy areas. Photo: Y Facebook page courtesy of Michelle D Garthe Photography.
Snoqualmie Valley YMCA/Community Center situated on land parcel for future expansion , with possible pool, in grassy areas. Photo: Y Facebook page courtesy of Michelle D Garthe Photography.




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