Snoqualmie Valley YMCA Ready To Say Happy New Year By Opening Its Doors On Schedule

There’s an expectation with big construction projects – delays; usually weather-related.  Fall in the valley traditionally means rain, wind, snow and then really windy.  This year, though, mother nature spared Snoqualmie much of her typical nasty fall weather.  The newest Y construction project enjoyed dream fall building conditions.  The only bad valley rains storms held off until late November – after the building’s final roof sealing.  As a result, our new community center will open on time – in just 12 days.

On January 1st, about 1,200 charter members will walk into the Snoqualmie Y for the first time.  The opening still feels dream-like after watching this saga unfold the past 10 years.  The promise of a community center drew us to Snoqualmie.  Pregnant with my 4th child and three others under the age of six,  I naïvely dreamed of a community center for my brood – dance lessons, classes, swimming.  My “dream-like”  community center was what we left when relocating to Snoqualmie.  Unfortunately, that dream facility costs more than $4 million to build.   Snoqualmie did try, though; three times attempting to pass construction bonds for a grand community center, complete with a pool.  The harsh reality is, securing public construction funds with a 60% super-majority bond is VERY difficult – just ask our school district.  Combined with a recession and slow housing market,  a 30,000 sq. ft. community center wasn’t in the cards for Snoqualmie.

Beginning in 2008, collaboration and compromise became the key to getting any community center built.  Residents suggested city officials build something with the nearly $4 million they had for the project (courtesy of Snoqualmie Ridge mitigation funds and real estate excises taxes) and find someone else to run it.  Enter the Greater Seattle YMCA, GLY Construction (regularly used for Y construction projects), one detailed partnership agreement and Snoqualmie finally has a community center.   City built,  Y run, community members join if desired.  No public financing needed.  Sometimes things don’t work out as planned, forcing you back to the drawing board countless times.  Compromises happen, budgets shrink, but the community still gets a needed asset.

The 13,000 sq. ft. Snoqualmie Y opens its doors to all members January 2nd, 2012.  38 community members are now Y employees.  The moving in process began this week.  New Precor exercise equipment was delivered yesterday and carefully placed in the 2,500 sq. ft. health and fitness room.  About 20 cardio machines face three walls of windows overlooking the Cascade mountains, with weight machines in the room’s center.  Hardwood floors in the gymnasium and multi-purpose room are polished and ready.   The gym is large, about middle school size.  The entryway features a river rock fireplace, WiFi, front desk and kitchenette area where coffee is always available.  A large front patio awaits its tables, heaters and fire bowl.  There’s even a complete small kitchen.  Staff moves in office equipment and furniture over the next week.  Artwork is coming.  A historic picture of the first Snoqualmie YMCA will hang over the fireplace.

The one thing the newest Y will open without is a pool.  It is “the” question asked by new members says Membership Director, Milissa Morgan. “When will the pool go in?”  The Y and city officials took a “phased-in” approach with the pool.  The building’s design plan leaves space for it in the future – in the front grassy area that borders Ridge Street.  Large indoor pools are very expensive, though.  Adding a pool similar to the one at the Coal Creek Y may have doubled the Snoqualmie Y’s construction cost, bursting the project’s $4 million budget.  Although the design accommodates a future pool and public funds may be needed to add it, there is no bond proposal on the horizon.  City officials determined building something now with existing funds, while leaving future component space, was a practical solution.

The Snoqualmie Valley Community Center / Y Grand Opening Ceremony happens on January 21st from 10:30AM – 1:30PM.  For details click 12162011 NR_Grand Opening January 21.  For programming and membership information visit the Snoqualmie Y website.

I half jokingly asked Snoqualmie Y Director, Dave Mayer, how he plans to get local kids out of the grocery store, their seemingly favorite hangout, and into the Y.  He told me that programming is always evolving, mostly because of community input, and they always welcome more ideas.  Now that the facility is built, the next step is getting kids in the door with the right atmosphere and programming; something the Y’s Teen Center is diligently working to give our growing city – 35% of whom are under the age of 18.

Happy Holidays Snoqualmie!

Comments

  1. This is super! I’m so looking forward to this! It’s a beautiful building! I’ve only been able to look at the exterior as we drive by, so thank you for the pictures of the interior. I love old artwork like we have at the new city hall building. We sure live in a lovely little city!

  2. Thanks Danna for another great article! I’ve followed your blog for several months before moving here, and I admire the great care you take in creating your content. 🙂

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