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Times Record News (Wichita Falls, Texas)
In 2011, the Wichita Falls YMCA started looking at what was the greatest community need that they could help solve.
The results of that search motivated a lengthy and methodical process of expansion that the area YMCA began in August 2017, according to Noel Filer, YMCA mission advancement director.
"We wanted to build what was needed," she said. "We did an independent market study to see if the community would support what we believe was needed.
"It came back overwhelmingly in support of our plans, and we then began going to foundations and individuals to raise the money for the expansion."
Construction officially began in August 2017 in preparation for a four building addition to the Bill Bartley YMCA that totals 80,000 square feet.
The first building will be a new gymnastics center. The second and third buildings will include a double gymnasium and an indoor soccer complex, which also serves as a multi-purpose facility.
The fourth structure is a youth development center with infant, toddler and pre-school classrooms and after-school rooms.
All the new buildings will be adjacent to Bill Bartley. A 200-space parking lot has been built behind the Bartley facility, which will service the four new buildings.
A road was built from Stone Lake Drive to directly access the new lot.
"Now, we will have plenty of parking for program participants and members," she said.
The new gymnastics center is scheduled to be completed in April 2018, if mother nature cooperates, she said.
The 15,351-square-foot facility will start hosting programs, camps and meets already in June 2018.
"We can start getting those kids on the waiting lists in and host even more kids in the future," Filer said.
Following the completion of the gymnastics center, they will begin construction on the double gymnasium and indoor soccer complex. Both will be under one roof, however people will be able to see into both facilities through a clear wall.
The double gymnasium, at 18,022 square feet, will allow the YMCA to "offer a better quality of youth basketball."
"We have the most teams and kids participating in the community, but we want to give them better facilities than we have," Filer said. "We'll have more space to accommodate youth sports and also grow into programs like youth volleyball."
The 20,826-square-foot indoor soccer facility will enable the Y enough space to add a youth soccer league to their current adult league.
"Our community has wanted this for years," Filer said. "We want a facility, where kids can use it year round."
The multi-purpose facility will also allow them to expand and offer more programs for their special needs population. The double building structure will likely take 16 to 18 months to complete once construction begins.
The final building of the Phase 1 plan is an early childhood and youth development center, which will be 24,263 square feet.
"We have a lot of working parents in the city who depend on the YMCA for quality child care," Filer said. "We don't turn anyone away for inability to pay, so we have a large number of people who want to use our services: we need additional facilities to do this."
The new center will include infant, toddler and pre-school classrooms and three different age-specific classrooms.
"It won't be just a day care center," she said, "it will be a first class early childhood center where kids will learn math, science, letters and reading. It will also have a youth library."
As of early February 2018, the Wichita Falls YMCA had already raised over 99 percent of the $13,674,209 price tag for Phase 1.
A second phase is scheduled to begin in 2020, and will include a grand entry for Bill Bartley, a large community gathering space and an extensive renovations on that branch, as well as renovations of the other city YMCA branches.
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