Community college buys YMCA building
A lakeshore college plans to acquire a facility near Muskegon Lake as part of its health and wellness initiative.
Muskegon Community College, 221 Quarterline Road, Muskegon, announced this month that its board has approved the approximately $1.17 million acquisition of the Muskegon Family YMCA at 900 W. Western Ave. on Muskegon Lake.
MCC’s seven-member board voted in favor of purchasing the Muskegon Family YMCA property for approximately $1.17 million and leveraging existing college assets to pay for the facility. The agreement is anticipated to close on Oct. 1, according to MCC’s building projects website.
Rod Hayhurst, board chief volunteer officer at Muskegon Family YMCA, said the YMCA board was at a point of redefining, transforming and reinventing its mission when the idea was presented.
“It included expanding beyond the walls of the facility into new partnerships. So we saw this through the lens of this being a trusted Muskegon organization that has a mission and goal similar to ours,” said Hayhurst. “We saw it as an opportunity to correct some of the encumbrances we have had, that have bound us to not improving the facility and not being able to do some of the community outreach we really wanted to do.”
As part of the agreement, the college will pay off the YMCA’s existing debt to Muskegon-based Community Shores Bank and provide financial support for the organization’s loan with the Community Foundation for Muskegon County.
Hayhurst said with MCC’s acquisition of the facility, it allows for an opportunity to upgrade the asset, “develop the lakefront and bring an academic presence the college can offer in terms of curriculum development in any number of fronts (the YMCA) could not.”
The acquisition of the downtown Muskegon YMCA facility is also part of the college’s community-focused health and wellness initiative, which includes the renovation and expansion of the existing Bartels-Rode Gymnasium and Health Center at Marquette Avenue and Quarterline Road.
The roughly $14.2 million Health and Wellness Center is expected to open early 2017 and includes nearly 17,600 square feet of new space and roughly 12,800 square feet of renovated space. The $6.1 million in funding generated from the 2013 bond issue for the new facility on campus will not be used to purchase the YMCA building.
John Selmon, vice president for student services and administration at MCC, said the Muskegon Family YMCA facility will be a part of MCC’s overall strategic plan to improve community health and wellness.
“We will use the facility, along with our soon-to-be constructed campus-based health and wellness facility, to meet those needs,” said Selmon. “We’re going to do a 90-day operational analysis and we will make a determination at that time about programs, services and facilities. After the 90-day assessment we will share the recommendations with the community.”
Both the new health and wellness facility on campus and the recently acquired YMCA building will be operated by Illinois-based Power Wellness, which was contracted by MCC. Power Wellness provides design, construction and operations management services for a number of clients, including university and community fitness facilities.
Dale Nesbary, MCC president, said while the college and the management services firm evaluate current operations at the facility, MCC will honor all current YMCA memberships and scheduled programs through the fall.
New path for YMCA
The Muskegon Family YMCA will continue to own and operate Camp Pendalouan, which is located at 1243 E. Fruitvale Road, Montague, in northern Muskegon County.
Hayhurst said Power Wellness will partner with the organization to help understand and decide how to transform its programs.
“Going forward, I see (the YMCA) wanting to maintain a presence at the Western Avenue facility, but this gives us the impetus to explore how to exist in other physical locations throughout Muskegon,” said Hayhurst. “It is something that we have been on the path of doing.”