NEW CANAAN, Conn. — The best days are ahead for the New Canaan YMCA. That’s quite an achievement, considering the institution has been a treasured community resource for 60 years.
With an ongoing $20 million renovation, portions of which opened in January, the Y is poised to serve the community for decades to come. The total renovation package will be complete in June.
- What : New Canaan YMCA
- What's new: A $20 million renovation project. Part of the renovation was completed in January. The total project will be completed in June.
- The new stuff: New wellness and fitness facilities, and locker rooms. To come are a full gymnasium, cafe and recreational pool.
- Learn more: On the New Canaan Y website
“Any great community has a great Y,’’ said Kristina Barrett, the New Canaan Y’s vice president of financial development, marketing and strategic initiatives. “Look at any great community and there will be a great Y. New Canaan is a great community. We kind of feed off each other. Our staff and board are truly dedicated to serving the community and staying in tune with what the needs are.”
The Y in January opened new wellness and fitness facilities and new adult locker rooms. The renovation added 8,000 square feet of new fitness areas, including a new indoor cycling studio, studio for group elliptical classes, an expanded “Zone” training center and an expanded and renovated mind-body center.
The mind-body center includes classes in yoga, pilates, barre and tai chi. The “Zone” training center includes TRX, medicine balls, kettle bells, big tires and other functional fitness apparatus. The space for the elliptical group training classes is one of the few in the area. While many clubs have group spin classes, group elliptical classes are rare.
“It’s way more motivating in a group environment,’’ Barrett said. “You get a much better workout and it’s much more fun.”
Barrett also said the new locker rooms were also an important piece to the renovations. The locker rooms had not been updated in about 40 years.
“They’re modern, comfortable and much more accommodating,’’ Barrett said. “Members can get steam, sauna and towel service, and it’s all included in the price of membership.”
The remaining projects include a new “Kids Zone” that will open in late February or early March and will include a new gym area for preschool, youth movement and gymnastics classes. This programming space is also very popular with children with special needs.
In June, the Y expects to unveil a renovated full gymnasium that will allow for better programming for youth and adult programs. A new recreational pool will also open in June. Barrett said it will be warmer than the existing competition pool and will be used for swim lessons for the youngest children, therapy swims and group aquatics classes. The pool will give the Y a total of three to conduct its wide assortment of swimming programs, everything from competitive swimming and diving to programs for young children and seniors.
The Y will also build a new cafe and common area to facilitate more interaction among members. “The Y has always been a community within a community,’’ Barrett said. “This is a place where seniors come to stay active and healthy but also connected. This new common space will really support that camaraderie among all members.”
Barrett said the Y needed to upgrade to meet community needs. But she said the board also recognized the competitive fitness landscape, where outlets big and small are trying to offer a wide assortment of programming.
The Y raised the capital for its renovations through a fund-raising campaign that was well-received in the community. Barrett said members expressed excitement with the renovations.
In an era where many YMCA’s have endured financial struggles, the New Canaan Y has thrived and continues to a vital part of the community.
““It’s been a long process,’’ Barrett said. “We broke ground on Nov. 1, 2015. Our members have been doing a great job of going with the flow, and now they see the light at the end of the tunnel. The January opening was a first glimpse into that. It’s a very exciting chapter in our history. The renovation and the support are ensuring we are ready to support the community and for the next generation to come.”
For more information on the New Canaan Y, click here t o visit its website.