MetroWest YMCA expanding in Framingham
February 7, 2019 : The MetroWest Daily News, by Jim Haddadin
FRAMINGHAM — Major upgrades are in store for the MetroWest YMCA building on Old Connecticut Path, which will be renovated and expanded using bond money awarded by MassDevelopment.
The YMCA recently announced that it will enlarge its facility by 7,800 square feet. It will revamp its aquatic center and add new amenities, including a conference room, cafe and youth development area, where the YMCA will host after-school programs during the week and family enrichment programs mornings and weekends.
MassDevelopment issued a $7 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of MetroWest YMCA to pay for the project. The bond was purchased by Middlesex Savings Bank.
“For more than a century, the MetroWest YMCA has made it its mission to improve the health and well-being of local residents while simultaneously building a greater sense of community in the MetroWest region,” MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss said in an announcement. “By taking steps to upgrade and expand its Framingham facility, the organization can further grow its programming, create jobs, and offer an improved wellness experience for members and guests.”
Located beside a busy shopping plaza, the YMCA’s Framingham branch opened its doors in 1969 and has expanded four times. The organization has about 9,700 members, and operates a family center in Hopkinton and the Clearbrook Family Swim Club on Parker Road in Framingham, in addition to its Old Connecticut Path site.
The Planning Board previously approved an early version of the YMCA’s expansion project, signing off in 2017 on designs for a one-story addition on the front of the building. It was set to house a new family pool, which would be accessible to people with disabilities and allow more space for swimming lessons.
A feasibility study at the time pointed to an “extreme need” for more swimming instruction, early childhood education services and a gym expansion.
Visitor counts showed that during peak times, between 5 and 6 p.m., the facility had a maximum of 314 people inside. The expansion was projected to increase that number to around 400 in the future, but about one-third of the occupants were expected to be children, reducing the need for parking.
The Y now plans to enlarge its building and renovate existing spaces, such as the gymnasium and pool. Work will include painting, tiling, installing better floors and lighting, and updating the building’s mechanical systems.
The aquatic center will see a complete renovation. The gymnasium will get air conditioning, and will be expanded to hold a new group exercise center with a turf floor and new equipment. The Y will move its downstairs exercise room, offering a new group exercise studio in a more convenient location upstairs.
Announcing the latest project, the YMCA encouraged members to stay connected for updates on any disruptions to programming.
“It will certainly be challenging at times but it will be well worth the short term inconveniences we will go all be going through together,” the announcement reads.