Any parent raising an adolescent will shake their heads, roll their eyes, and give you a dissertation all about the growing pains of the typical teen (even if they don’t admit that the pains are often shared by the parent of the typical teen).
While physical growth pains often refer to aches and soreness often attributed to lengthening ligaments, tendons and muscles, there is no evidence to show that they are caused by anything but fatigue.
Then there are the growing pains that come of realizing one’s place in a stressful world. There’s the inconvenient inaccessibility, the physical awkwardness and that outward air of unapproachability that causes one to wonder what on earth is going on under the surface, or what will emerge sparkly and positive from the process someday soon.
Oh, please, let it be soon.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA is going through a minor bout of growing pains. But administrators are promising that a period of inconvenience will allow for changes that will bring about a refreshing, friendlier facility for all to use.
According to the branch website ( www.chcymca.org) the renovations underway currently will deliver a “bright, new lobby space as well as an expanded wellness area with more equipment for members.” Floor plans are available for view through a link on the branch’s homepage and are on display in the branch.
“We’re going to basically double our fitness space and add a 50 percent increase in our fitness equipment,” Branch Executive Director Kim Grooms said. “It was getting pretty cramped in our existing fitness equipment area with all of the free weights down here, and this opens that area up a lot.”
Grooms said the renovations were a long time coming.
“Basically, we have an old facility that we haven’t given much love to over the years,” she explained. “Our members were wanting a better, newer, fresher space. We needed additional cardio space, and we’re doubling our exercise space by renovating our upstairs area.”
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA facility at 980 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is open seven days a week, offering members the use of a full-size gymnasium with an elevated running track, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, a 25-yard indoor pool, whirlpool, steam room, sauna, a pair of racquetball courts and outdoor recreation facilities. The building boasts spacious adult locker rooms as well as family changing rooms.
Under the banner of a Managed Service Agreement with the YMCA of the Triangle in place since 2012, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA is comprised of the original Chapel Hill facility, a branch at 964 East Street (Suite 100) in Pittsboro and the newest branch location on Old Barn Lane in Chapel Hill’s Meadowmont community.
The YMCA’s focus is on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
Construction is evident throughout the main floor common areas.
“All of the space once used as offices will be a cardio area with treadmills, stair climbers, ellipticals and more,” Grooms said. “There will even be a space dedicated as a stretching area, and we’ve never really had that.”
Additionally, the main lobby will be refashioned to be more inviting.
“There will be a more welcoming look when you first walk in,” Grooms said. “Instead of a huge desk the people have stood behind, we’ll have a kiosk where staff can be with members there or go over to the side if someone needs more information.”
To the right of the main entrance will be multipurpose and childwatch/afterschool program spaces.
“The room that was our childwatch area will now be perfect for classes that run a little smaller or for classroom-type programs like a Livestrong cancer survivor program,” Grooms said. “It will be more of a classroom and discussion space.
To the right of the main lobby will be a small-community open area where members can gather after classes, to play cards, or socialize.
“Our group exercise room is going to get a facelift too,” Grooms said. “We’re redoing the ceilings, the lights and the walls.
To make room for the additional main floor fitness spaces, administrative offices will be moved downstairs.
“Staff is going to occupy the space where project Boomerang used to be, and Boomerang will be at Meadowmont now,” Grooms said.
Grooms insisted that staff will remain visible and engaged.
“So our offices will be downstairs,” she said, “but our goal is not for our staff to be in our offices that much. We want to be out and about and engaging our members. We’ll miss our windows, but we’ve had that prime real estate for a long time, and it’s good for our membership to have that space.”
Grooms added that the current renovations provide the resources promised by a previous plan to remove racquetball space.
“Going back to the situation that involved our racquetball courts, at the time, that was a good plan – but this is a better plan,” Grooms said. “We’re glad we took the time to put together a task force and really evaluate what the long-term needs of the YMCA are. This is a longer-term solution.”
With construction underway, the YMCA has made minor adjustments to maintain operations.
“Right now, we’re routing people into the facility through the entrance on our (elevated) track, so our track is currently closed,” Grooms said.
Childwatch is now from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. noon at the Amity United Methodist Church next door. Pick-up traffic for the afterschool program has been moved to the back of the building in order to ease traffic in the main parking lot, and modified group wellness schedules are in effect which are detailed through the branch website.
During renovations, any Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA member can use any other branch of the YMCA of the Triangle by simply showing their membership card at their check-in area.”
Grooms said the project should be completed early next year.
“Our goal was to be finished before New Year’s, 2015,” she said, “but it’s probably going to be more like toward the end of January. They’ve spent the last two weeks sort of tearing things down, and now it’s time to start putting things together.”
Grooms foresees more improvements in store down the line, however.
“The vision for an even longer-term YMCA here or somewhere else in the future can’t be too far from our thoughts,” she said. “I really want to update and enhance our locker rooms. In the interest of our members, we have to think even farther in the future.
“We’ve already made some changes, but we still have a long way to go.”