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YMCA selects architect, first program

Now that land selection is out of the way, the YMCA of Harrison County is moving ahead. This month the group selected the architect for the $4 million project and decided on its first program, a bereavement support group.
CMW Inc., which is headquartered in Lexington, Ky., and recently opened a branch in Louisville, was chosen by the YMCA board of directors as the architect for the facility, which will include an indoor pool, warm-water therapy pool, gymnasium, indoor walking/jogging track, weight and exercise room, and other recreational amenities for all ages. The site, where work is expected to begin this summer, is located behind Arc Weld on Old S.R. 135 in Corydon. Dennis and Kathy Jenkins donated the 15-acre tract.
“During the 18 months since we first met, the YMCA board of directors and volunteers have visited at least 15 YMCAs and recreational centers,” said John Evans, hired last month as the Y’s first executive director.
“In every case, we asked the facility managers what they were happy with and what they would do differently. Almost all of them described the pool area, with its humidity and exacting water and air temperature, as a complex system that needs a designer with experience.
“We also learned that it is important to select an architect with experience building a YMCA because of its unique challenges,” he said. “The CMW Louisville branch, headed by architect Dennis Arthur, was selected for the YMCA project because of its proven track record designing YMCAs, community recreational centers and pools.”
CMW recently completed several YMCAs in Kentucky, including the Beaumont and North Lexington Ys, both in Lexington, the Blakely Family YMCA in Somerset, and the Clay Community Center in Mt. Sterling.
Arthur has designed 35 to 40 municipal pools and “is regarded as an expert in recreational facility and indoor pool design,” Evans said.
YMCA board president Catherine Turcotte added: “We were very impressed with all of the firms who submitted proposals, which made the decision difficult.
“Interestingly, Dennis Arthur was based at CMW’s headquarters in Lexington, Ky., until last February when he was promoted to Louisville to establish their branch office,” she said. “It is wonderful that we have so much experience so close.”
The YMCA’s building design committee began receiving proposals from architects in October. From 17 proposals, they selected seven for more serious consideration, and then conducted extensive interviews, reference checks and on-site visits with three of the firms.
During that process, the committee also was evaluating the feasibility of the design-build process and decided this project is best suited to the traditional architect designed, locally bid and built project, Evans said.
Besides Evans and Turcotte, Ty Adams, Sharon McKiever and Jane Stewart served on the committee.
“The YMCA of Harrison County expects to begin work on the building design immediately, with hopes to have the plans complete and ready to bid locally by late spring,” Evans said.
Engineer Victor McCauley, an Elizabeth resident, donated a site survey of the YMCA’s future site.
Results from the needs-assessment surveys generated by the Y indicate a strong interest in a walking/running indoor track. Complete results from the survey hopefully will be ready to present at next month’s board meeting.
At its Jan. 8 meeting, the board agreed to begin implementing its first program, a bereavement support group.
Turcotte said the idea for the program came from two sources. Board member Tuula VanGaasbeek gave a testimony last year of her experience of losing an infant child. VanGaasbeek later started a bereavement support group in New York state.
YMCA board members also realized a need for such a group after a candlelight service was held in Corydon in November. The service was organized as part of the nationwide Compassionate Friends program.
“No one else can understand their pain,” Turcotte said of parents who have lost a child. “I think this is something we need to start as a community program.”
Logistics as to where they will meet and when are being worked out. The support group will probably be open to anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, rather than just be limited to parents.
Persons interested in the support group may contact the YMCA office, which is located at 117 W. Walnut St., in Corydon, by calling 734-0770.
During his first executive director’s report, Evans said, “I’m having so much fun being exhausted.”
When the report was made, Evans had been on the job 23 days. He said his family has been supportive of his new career. (Evans quit his law practice to take the position.)
Evans intends to submit a staffing support proposal as early as the February meeting.
The YMCA’s next meeting is Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. at the Harrison County Public Library in Corydon. Turcotte said the group will begin rotating locations throughout the county after the winter months.
Information about the YMCA of Harrison County is available on the Internet at
The YMCA is a non-profit organization with the mission to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.