YMCA Eyes Former WVU Tech Facility

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Charleston Gazette-Mail


The Kanawha County Commission is preparing to grant funding to a YMCA vying to open at the West Virginia University Institute of Technology's athletic center at its former campus in Montgomery.

According to a report given to the commission Tuesday from Monty Warner, president and CEO of the YMCA of Kanawha Valley, the recreation center could open as soon as this summer, and just needs help with startup costs from the commission and elsewhere. It would be housed in the Neal D. Baisi Athletic Center on WVU Techs former campus.

Commission President Kent Carper voiced support for the project at the meeting, and instructed his staff to prepare for a funding request at the groups May meeting.

In a follow-up interview, Carper said he believed in the YMCAs mission in an underserved part of the county and said the project is likely to receive funding.

Im confident well give them significant assistance, what theyre doing is standing up for people in the eastern part of the county, and its the right thing to do, he said.

While nothing is final, Carper estimated the commission would be ready to give $50,000 to the YMCA.

KVC Health Systems, a private nonprofit company based in Kansas, announced plans in February to convert the former campus into a college for children who have aged out of the foster care system.

However, Warner said KVC approached the YMCA because the company does not handle athletic facilities. KVC representatives encouraged the establishment of a new facility on site.

Warner said both Bridge Valley Community and Technical College and KVC have offered to purchase YMCA memberships for students and staff, once the facility opens.

Though the center is close to fruition, there still are a few hurdles to clear. Warner said he still needs to sign and secure the lease from KVC, fund raise to outfit the building and get things off the ground.

He said he has requested funding from both the Fayette County Commission, along with Kanawhas. He said he anticipates only relying on the funding through January to help the YMCA handle outfitting the facility, training employees and handling bills for the first few months.

Come January, he said it should be able to stand up on its own.

With enough interest well be able to create a viable YMCA that will be able to serve the community in magnificent ways, Warner said in a follow-up interview. Were pretty excited about that and we hope to be up and operational this summer.

Looking forward, Warner will be attending several key meetings on the recreation centers fate. He is meeting today with a collaboration team of the mayors of Montgomery and Smithers, commissioners from Kanawha and Fayette counties, WVU representatives, and other interested individuals.

Likewise, he is waiting on formal responses for funding requests from both Kanawha and Fayette counties.

Reach Jake Zuckerman at [email protected], 304-348-4814 or @jake_zuckerman on Twitter.

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April 20, 2017


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