YMCA renovations near completion

Walking around a small table, Jason Daniel, executive director of the Springs Family Branch YMCA in Dripping Springs, consulted with a colleague on the look and placement of the furnishing.

Daniel, along with Heather Marchant, membership and sports director at the Springs YMCA, discussed if the table was a good look at its current location.

Such talks are the norm for the Springs Family Branch as they ready the finishing touches prior to the facility’s unveiling of its $5.5 million remodel Aug. 26. And while the project is about five months overdue, Daniel said members are starting to experience the upgrades to the facility.

“We’re doing our best to get this up and going and our members have been patient with the process,” Daniel said. “They are waiting for a new Springs Family YMCA and we’re hoping to deliver as fast as we can.”

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Those improvements to the Springs Family YMCA include roughly 10,000 additional square feet for the facility; Daniel said approximately 7,000 square feet will be functional space.

New elements to the facility will include a renovated weight room and group exercise studio, as well as a second story yoga and Pilates room.

A new heated pool, which will have an eight-lane competition pool as well as a family pool with splash pad, is the primary upgrade. Pools play a large part of what the YMCA does, Daniel said. The YMCA uses the pool to teach children and the community how to swim, and to be safe around the water.

The pool became a reality after the YMCA partnered with Dripping Springs ISD for its construction. In addition, DSISD will be able to use the pool for its high school swim team, swim meets and other aquatic programs.

“This is a great opportunity to build something that families can take advantage of, seniors could take advantage of, and members and athletes could take advantage of,” Daniel said.

Visions of expanding the Springs Family branch have been in the works ever since the YMCA purchased the facility in 2007. Daniel said James Fink, YMCA president, wanted to put the YMCA’s “design and touch on the facility.”

While the YMCA secured the appropriate funding through its volunteer board at the corporate level, they also wanted to ensure the timing was right for the expansion.

Daniel said the YMCA looked at demographics and development in the Dripping Springs area. They also took a look at what the demands were of members in the area and what the “needs and asks” were from the community.

“We asked how we as a facility could meet those needs,” Daniel said.

Another primary transformation was connecting the entire facility into one unit, which was intentional by design, Daniel said. Prior to the renovation, Springs Family was split into three separate buildings.

Creating one building ensures a safer environment for members and staff, as well as controlled access to the facility, Daniel said.

“What’s also happened – it’s created space for people to gather and congregate and connect,” Daniel said. “The big thing about the Y is we can connect people to programs, but also people can connect to people. When you have people under one roof, it happens organically.”

Those who work and play at the Y have started to take notice. Gerald, a Wimberley resident who’s a member at the Springs Family Y for two years, said the renovations are “great” and plans to use the updated weight and exercise equipment area.

Amy Botts, who works at the Springs Family Y, said it’s “great” to see the growth of not only the membership base, but also the facility as well. While the construction process was chaotic at first, members are starting to show excitement about the renovation. She believes the outdoor pool will be what people gravitate toward.

“People with families will like that more than the indoor pool,” Botts said. “I’m excited to see their reaction to that.”

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