BATAVIA — As fundraising continues, construction of the YMCA Healthy Living Campus, a $30 million investment at the corner of Main and Bank streets, is expected to get underway this fall.
At a press conference Tuesday outside the existing YMCA facility, GLOW YMCA CEO Rob Walker said the goal is to complete the project in 2023.
“It takes typically 14 to 16 months. The reason there’s a variable there is weather conditions in Western New York are so unpredictable,” he said of construction.
Plans for the Healthy Living Campus — a collaboration between the YMCA and Rochester Regional Health-United Memorial Medical Center — include a new state-of-the-art wellness center, indoor pool, group exercise studios and gymnasium with indoor walking/running track, teaching kitchen, indoor playground, youth spaces, living room and meeting rooms. The partnership with UMMC will provide primary care, behavioral health/crisis interventions services, telemedicine integration, cancer prevention outreach services, chronic illness support services and education services, all in the same facility.
“The Healthy Living Campus will serve as a one-stop-shop for comprehensive health and wellness support under one roof. It is especially important, now more than ever, to expand access to care in the community and this partnership with the Y is an opportunity to provide convenience for children, families, and people of all ages,” said UMMC President Dan Ireland.
Co-located services will open up new program opportunities in chronic disease management, rehabilitation, mental health, and community education.
“This new Y is for the children, adults, families and seniors in our community. It will be a place for people from all walks of life to come together to gather and improve their quality of life,” said Walker. “Today we invite everyone to join us in this exciting campaign that will not only transform the lives of the people we serve, but the entire community.”
The Y has already raised more than $11 million toward a $14 million fund-raising goal and is now asking the community to support the $1 million public campaign goal.
“It’s very exciting to think about the new Healthy Living Campus and how it will impact the strength and future of our community. We just can’t wait to see our friends and neighbors enjoying a brand new 21st century facility, with all its natural light, spaces for socialization and just a ton of positive energy. I can’t think of a better way to invest in the future of Batavia,” said Paul Battaglia, YMCA campaign chair.
YMCA Campaign Cabinet member Peter Zeliff has provided a community challenge to support the new YMCA. Until September, Zeliff will match, dollar for dollar, all new gifts up to $500,000.
“I believe strongly in this project and am happy to double the impact of new gifts, knowing the tremendous benefit we will all receive from this new YMCA and Healthy Living Campus. I encourage the community to join me in supporting this exciting project,” Zeliff said.
The timing of the project will ultimately be determined by completion of the capital campaign, the YMCA said Tuesday. The only delay in moving the project along has been due to COVID-19.
“Once COVID hit, we had shifted our focus away from the efforts on this to focus 100 percent of our efforts to serving the community in a different way during a crisis. That delayed it for obvious reasons,” Walker said.
When the Healthy Living Campus is ready, the YMCA will have about 60,000 square feet of space and UMMC about 20,000 square feet.
“You walk in. If you’re going to a service for the hospital as an outpatient, or you’re going to the Y, it’s all under one roof,” Walker said.
Walker said the Healthy Living Campus will change downtown.
“This going to change what Batavia feels like, looks like. I think it’s going to be a confidence-booster to all of us,” he said. “Most importantly, it’s going to have a great impact on the next generation.
“We expect the number of folks to be coming downtown to go from about 2,000 a day — pre-COVID, of course — to 6,000 folks a day,” the YMCA’s CEO said. “The other key part is the partnership. We’re going to be able to deliver programs and services that we’ve never been able to do in partnership with this great hospital.”
Walker also said the current YMCA building is outdated and not very handicapped-friendly.
“Obviously, we’ll have all those features in the new building,” he said. “We’re going to impact a lot more people.”
Ireland said the collaboration started out almost six years ago as an idea.
“As we sat down one day in the boardroom with Rob’s team and our team and listed all the services we perform, we found lots of lines that pointed to each other that made an impact on our community,” he said. “It’s been a great partnership.
“As we look at our primary care center, which would grow and expand from what we offer today at Batavia Primary Care. We’ll allow more patient access, but also allow our doctors, our nurses, our resident physicians to leverage the work with the Y and integrate wellness and fitness into the regimens they use to care for patients,” he said. “The teaching kitchen that we’re proposing to have in the facility will become another way that we can take members of the Y and members of the community and patients of ours and help them to learn to eat better, help them prepare meals easier … and do a large education class.”
When the project is finished, the YMCA will move to the east of where it is now, Walker said.
“Cary Hall (a UMMC facility) is going to come down and the space where the Elks Lodge used to be, that is where this building is going to be placed,” he said. “The nice thing about this plan … is we can still function until that date. We’ll continue operations and once that key is ready to open that new Y, we’re just moving next door.”
When the current YMCA is demolished, the site will become future expansion for the Healthy Living Campus, Walker said.
When the new facility is ready and the current YMCA building is demolished, the YMCA CEO said, there will be a green space with additional parking behind that.
“The nice thing about this location is, currently, our members and people who visit us have to park across Bank Street in the mall parking and the city parking. That’s hazardous coming across a city road,” he said. Walker said to the east and behind the campus, there will be room for 300-plus parking spaces.
“Now we won’t have buses stopping on Bank Street to drop off kids, strollers and seniors walking across Bank Street,” he said. “Everything will be contained on a campus that’s well-lit, safe parking.”