Merrimack Valley YMCA, Andover/North Andover Branch Expansion

Andover, MA
Construction Cost: $19.2 million
Area / Square Feet: 109,000 square feet
Occupancy Date: April 2016

The expansion of the Andover/North Andover YMCA completely renovated the original 1960s-era building, doubling its size with a large addition for a total of 109,000 square feet of fitness, aquatics and healthcare spaces to better serve community members and their families.

The building is arranged cleanly around major volumes, with a single level housing most of the major program elements, including the two existing pools, a new pool, a basketball court, a childcare area, administration space and a main fitness area. Arranging everything on the same floor proved a construction phasing challenge but allowed new programmatic elements to meld cleanly with the existing space. New program areas borrow natural light drawn from skylights in the central atrium, which uses a clean white color palette with a combination of glossy and matte paint to activate the space.

An innovative new program ‚ÄĒ in collaboration with Merrimack College, Active Science ‚ÄĒ promotes exercise combined with exploratory learning for school-aged children. The Active Living Center for older adults, coupled with the Child Care Center, will ensure that a focus on healthy lifestyle choices can be supported throughout the community‚Äôs demographics.

Creating a connection to the outdoors was an important aspect of the project. Standing at the front of the building, users can see all the way through to the trees in back, providing a connection to the exterior and creating a naturally lit space.

Judge's Comments

"Simple but powerful response to the design challenge. The design team got a lot out of a tight budget and created a handsome design solution." ‚ÄĒ Stephen Sefton

"The project demonstrates a clear and simple approach that is beautifully executed. The elegant balance between exposed systems and polish is particularly well-done." ‚ÄĒ Clint Menefee

"Strategically placed additions and facade upgrades give this facility a whole new image. An impactful and cost-effective solution." ‚ÄĒ Troy Sherrard