WSCC, YMCA pursue grant

The Marietta Family YMCA and Washington State Community College plan to apply for a state capital funds grant to build a health and wellness center on the school’s campus.

The facility would be owned by the college and operated by the Y, Washington State President Bradley Ebersole said Tuesday.

“If we’re fortunate enough to be funded, it would be, I think, a wonderful asset for the community,” he said. “But it’s still very much in the early stages.”

A new location for the Y has been sought for years, but it’s not clear at this point whether the proposed facility would fulfill that role or be a branch of the aging current location on Seventh Street.

“It is so early, it’s hard at this point to have a whole lot to say,” said Suzy Zumwalde, executive director of the local Y.

Zumwalde said the proposal has not been finalized and there are still a number of details to work out.

The overall cost of the project and the amount of the grant had not been determined as of Tuesday, Ebersole said. The facility would include a multipurpose room, gymnasium and pool among other features, he said.

A health and wellness center would be a benefit to student health and some of the college’s health science programs, particularly the one for physical therapy assistants. In addition, it makes the school more appealing overall, he said.

“It would build on the retention and completion that we’re very much interested in,” Ebersole said.

A health and wellness center is part of the college’s strategic plan a few years down the road. However, when it was learned the facility, in partnership with the Y, could be eligible for state community project funds, it made sense to apply, Ebersole said.

“This project would not move forward without the state’s support,” he said.

Ebersole estimated the state grant would cover about two-thirds of the cost of the project, with Washington State and the Y responsible for the rest.

“The idea of this is there would be no debt,” he said.

Ebersole spoke about the project Tuesday evening with college Board of Trustees Chairman Larry Holdren and board member Randy Barengo. Although a public meeting was scheduled, they were the only trustees who could attend, so a quorum was not present.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us as well as the Y,” said Holdren, adding that the matter would likely be discussed further at the regular board meeting Monday, the deadline for the grant application.