Northside YMCA Expansion Ready for Spring Re-opening

For over a year, the James Weldon Johnson YMCA has been under construction to complete their 3.5 million expansion. Members walking into the YMCA are rerouted to enter the facility on the south side of the campus.  The entrance and exercise room are bursting with senior’s playing card games and exercising. Down the hall students prepare for school assignments, while patiently awaiting the new teen center addition.

When completed, the project will have an all-new state-of-the-art Teen Center, Pre-Teen Center, new swimming pool and renovated wellness center.  The Teen Center will be a separate building, which will empower young adults to achieve in academic and sports. It is designed to serve over 100 students, 14-18 with enrichment opportunities through its Teen Forward program. The  4,000 square foot building will include a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) laboratory, teaching kitchen, computer lab, recording studio and gaming area.
According to the Y, this is the only after school programming of its kind offered for high school students in the area.  “I grew up in this community and I’ve seen firsthand the impact that the Johnson Family YMCA has had on this neighborhood, especially our youth, who come to play sports, connect with peers and gain life skills,” said Dr. Irvin Cohen, Executive Director of the James Weldon Johnson Family YMCA.

In addition to the Teen and Pre-teen center, the new swimming pool will allow the Y to expand its signature Safety Around Water drowning prevention program to reach more kids, while also creating 10-15 new jobs at the Y in Teen Center programming and aquatics.  Shown is Executive Director Pedro Cohen and Senior Director of Teen Programs Ruth Spencer-Coley as she remarked, “We will have learning labs, a decompression zone and we hope that the teen center will assist teens to have a better sense of self, while trying new options for careers throughout the world.”

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