Wednesday, October 24, 2007

YMCA nears opening date

Taking in the sun outside the YMCA is Director of Aquatics Jennifer Harper, left, and Executive Director Theresa Beahen. Photo by Dana DuGan

After two full years of building, the Wood River Community YMCA will open its doors on schedule and on budget, said Teresa Beahen, executive director of the Ketchum-based YMCA organization.

The $22-million, 55,000-square-foot recreational facility is located on the city of Ketchum's Park and Ride lot, along Saddle Road. It's one of 2,663 YMCAs in the country.

"November 3 has always been the shoot day," Beahen said. "We hoped to have the big community thing then, but the contractors and subs will still be in the building. I don't know if I can recall a time in 23 years that I've worked for the Y that we were on track both budget and schedule. I give The Sfingi Group (the Y's owner representatives) credit for that."

The facility features a multi-activity warm water and therapy pool with a zero-depth entry, a lazy river, toy features, a vortex pool and a 30-foot-high spiral slide that is 130 feet long. The Olympic-sized cool pool has five lanes. Sun pours through the windows and doorways that open onto a sundeck facing the mountains.

There are six locker rooms, two of which have continuous self-cleaning steam rooms. A gigantic climbing cave is at the rear of the entry. Upstairs are gyms; an aerobics room and a spirit room for yoga and Tai Chi are attached.

"I've built a Y this big but not this beautiful," Beahen said.

Though they've just finished three weeks of staff training, part-time staff members are still being hired. The organization currently has a temporary permit of occupancy and will have a permanent one by the time it opens on Nov. 3.

"We'll have a soft opening sneak-peek week, with scaled back hours for charter members to give feedback and check it out," Beahan said.

The community is welcome to tour the facilities at that time, too.

The opening will essentially be staggered, as some work will continue on the facility through Nov. 10.

Charter members will be welcome to use the facilities on:

· Saturday, Nov. 3, 9 a.m. to noon.

· Sunday, Nov. 4, noon to 3 p.m.

· Monday, Nov. 5 through Thursday, Nov. 8, 7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.

· Friday, Nov. 9, 7 to 10 a.m. VIP reception will be 4 to 7 p.m. for donors of $1,000 and more. Invited guests will include the city of Ketchum staff, appointees and elected officials.

· Nov. 10, Regular hours begin for all members: Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

· Monday, Nov. 12, the first six-week program sessions begin.

· Saturday, Nov. 24, grand opening event for the public. Noon to 3 p.m. Free.

Satellite facilities, including the Y-rocks in Hailey, the Y-childcare at Bellevue, Hailey and Hemingway school, and Y on Wheels at Woodside Elementary, will continue operation.

Studio Y and Studio Y II will transition into the new facility with more classes.

An anonymous donor gave $50,000 to expand Y on Wheels to Carey. The money will fund a full year of operation.

"We've had parents in Carey ask us to expand," Beahen said. "We hope to get that up and running after the first of the year."

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