MARION — The new Marion YMCA, at 3740 Irish Dr., is set to open Jan. 18.
The current Marion Y, at 3100 10th Ave., will close Saturday. The last day to use the old facility is Friday, though the pool closed Wednesday, according to a news release.
For the next month, YMCA members can use the Helen G. Nassif YMCA at 207 Seventh Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids.
YMCA President and CEO Bob Carlson told The Gazette on Wednesday the new $19.5 million facility will be “a breath of fresh air” for the nonprofit.
“I think it’s a blessing out of all the things we’ve been dealing with, the finances and the devastation, although it’s a tough time to open a new facility with the uncertainty of people getting back to their normal lifestyles,” he said.
The 75,000 square-foot building has a six-lane pool, three full-size basketball courts, multiple racquetball courts and a second floor devoted to weights and cardio machines, plus an indoor one-eighth mile track. Outside, the grounds will have two regulation-size football fields.
“The great thing is the building is fantastic,” Carlson said. “It’s almost like we built it with social distancing in mind. There is room to stay 6 feet apart.”
Financially, 2020 hasn’t been easy on the organization, given the ongoing pandemic. Earlier this year, the organization struggled to give refunds after a canceled Camp Wapsi season, and it closed its Mercy Health Plaza location in July.
Additionally, the organization put its Stoney Point building up for sale in October.
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The only facilities that remain open after Saturday are the Cedar Rapids Nassif Y and the Marion Independent Fitness Center.
“We actually just had the board meeting looking at the 2021 budget,” Carlson said. “It’s tough. It’s tight. This is not something you come back from in a year. It’s going to take us many years to come back from this. We’re exploring all avenues of expense savings.”
Operations, he said, were down almost 45 percent this year.
“When you take a nonprofit organization and do that, there’s a lot of tough decisions to make in the future,” he said. “We have a lot to do to move forward, but I think this facility will help us tremendously.”
The new Marion has been almost a decade in the making. The building was halfway done when the pandemic hit, Carlson said.
“Obviously, we started building this thing before the world turned upside down,” he said. “We had all the money and financing in place. … We hope people concentrate on the positives and come out and join us.
“We built it so people can come together. That’s why we pushed so hard to keep the project moving and kept it there for people so we’re ready to all be better again.”
Carlson said the monthlong transition between the two Marion YMCAs is for staff to move equipment and prepare staff in the new facility. The organization will be selling some of its old equipment and moving the rest.
“We’re giving ourselves ample time to make sure we’re doing it right,” Carlson said.
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