The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 20, 2013

Fun Day event to spotlight YMCA expansion

Sean Sauro
ssauro@tribdem.com

— The Y logo may be seen from the sky June 15 when Greater Johnstown YMCA community members get together to form a logo comprised of people at a Community Fun Day.

The carnival-style event, being held at the Greater Johnstown YMCA, 100 Haynes St., downtown Johnstown, is to rally community members to participate in fundraising to pay for planned renovations, YMCA Executive Director Sharon Jones said.

“It’s really to kick off our capital campaign, so we can inform the community about our expansion project,” she said. “We will have speakers giving an overview of our capital expansion project.

Plans for renovation and expansion were initiated after an attempt to make the building more energy efficient led to an inspection that revealed the building needed significant repairs, CJL Engineering project manager Jim Carthew said.

“One of the main problems was their infrastructure for heating and ventilation (equipment),” he said. “They were beyond their life cycle.”

While YMCA officials requested equipment repair, it was beyond fixing, Carthew said.

Though energy efficiency was the major concern, Carthew said, upon inspection, it was discovered that additional repairs were necessary.

“We talked to them about lighting, which they took care of to some degree, and we learned that the roof, which is original, is also deteriorating.”

However, renovations will not stop there. After a United Way needs assessment was conducted in Cambria and Somerset counties, Jones said additional renovations were considered.

“They identified five focus areas of need within our community, and we decided the YMCA could meet some of the needs by expanding and implementing new services,” Jones said.

“But, we realized we needed to upgrade some of our facilities to do that.”

Facility upgrades are to include $900,000 worth of infrastructure repairs, as well as a renovated welcome center, cardio center and Nautilus center.

A youth center with a computer lab, additional office space and a warm therapeutic pool also are to be added, Jones said.

The budget for the renovations is $3.5 million, with a groundbreaking estimated in March, Carthew said.

To raise money, Jones said YMCA representatives have been conducting a capital campaign project since January in which $840,000 of their $1.2 million goal has been reached.

The community day is to be held to inform the public about project details and to persuade them to contribute the remaining $360,000, Jones said.

In addition to the human Y logo formation, the community day is to feature face painting, a bouncey house and a disc jockey.

Existing facility tours, prize giveaways and carnival-style games, as well as a car cruise featuring antique, classic and custom cars, also are planned.

“We welcome the general public to come enjoy,” Jones said, adding that the event is to begin at 11 a.m.

In addition to fundraising, Jones said YMCA officials also have applied for grants from the state and from the Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program to fund the remaining $2.3 million required for renovations.



Sean Sauro of Johnstown, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, is interning in The Tribune-Democrat’s newsroom.