YMCA flourishes in new exercise space

Instructor Wendy Rehl leads a class in Pilates and dance fusion Wednesday night in the Elizabeth Sugden Broughton Community Building. The Marietta Family YMCA has moved most of its health and wellness classes into the Broughton Commercial Properties complex on State Route 821. (Photo by Michael Kelly)

After controversy and contraction last year after the Marietta Family YMCA decided to vacate its decades-old home building on Seventh Street, the organization is recovering and stepping outward.

On Wednesday afternoon, health and wellness director Melissa Wigal looked around the new spaces into which the YMCA moved its hallmark fitness classes this month.

A bright, high-ceilinged room with a massive mirror on one wall now houses group exercise classes. On the other side of a removable partition, Wigal said, is a larger area planned for weight and cardio equipment, including ellipticals, treadmills, rowing machines and other typical fitness center machines.

“We hope to expand to that much larger area next door for those activities,” she said.

Elsewhere in the Broughton complex, the YMCA is being provided use of the Oak Room for Awesome Abs, the Silver Sneakers program and yoga classes, the Buckeye Room for spin classes, and the elegant and enormous Elizabeth Sugden Broughton Community Building for pilates and dance.

“We’ve got 34 classes scheduled out here this month,” she said, counting off blocks on a clipboard spreadsheet.

It’s an aggressive comeback for the organization, which until this month has been confined to a building shared with Goodwill on Colegate Drive. The most strongly subscribed service offered by the YMCA is child care, and the health and fitness programs were feeling squeezed.

The organization struck a flexible agreement with businessman, philanthropist and long-time YMCA supporter George Broughton to take space in the Broughton Commercial Properties complex just outside Marietta on Ohio 821 and adjacent to the Broughton Nature Preserve and the Devola trails complex.

YMCA chief executive officer Rob O’Hara said child care registrations have gone up since the health and fitness classes moved away, enabling the organization to increase the number of child care spaces available. Members, he said, have expressed interest and support for the new facilities.

“Our members have come out here, they want to see us succeed,” Wigal said. “They support us like a family.”

“We’ve got more spots for child care and additional programming for youth development,” he said. “Our goal has been to create space to optimize both our child care and health and wellness. We worked with the Broughtons to get the space that will handle most of our group exercise classes, and some shared space to add yoga, large dance classes and senior programming. The Broughtons are great to work with, they’ve been long-term supporters of the YMCA.”

Wigal said the teachers have also stayed with them.

“We’ve got a great group of very loyal instructors,” said Wigal, who also is an instructor. “It’s a wonderful team. We’re not just focused on members, we make our employees feel valued, needed and wanted, too.”

In the Elizabeth Sudgen Broughton Community Building Wednesday afternoon, Broughton employee Jeff Binegar stacked chairs and moved tables, clearing the room out in preparation for the two-hour pilates and dance fusion classes held every Wednesday evening. On Thursday, a YMCA-organized health fair will be held in the building from noon to 2:30 p.m.

The building next door, the Buckeye Room, is the location for spin classes, an indoor group cycling session. Back in the main complex building, the Oak Room, carpeted and quiet, is used for the Awesome Abs class, Silver Sneakers program and yoga sessions.

Outside the Oak Room, Wigal gestured toward the entrance.

“When we moved in here, I noticed it’s a fairly steep grade coming up the ramp, a lot of our members are seniors, some of them use walkers, and I pointed that out to George (Broughton). He suggested a handrail, and the next day it was done,” she said. “He’s really been supportive.”

O’Hara said he hopes the transition will be complete by the end of February.

“It’s a big step for the Y, to meet our long-term facility needs and serve the community for the next several generations,” he said.

Michael Kelly can be reached at mkelly@mariettatimes.com.

Marietta Family YMCA expansion

• Under agreement with the Broughton family, the organization is offering fitness classes in several parts of the Broughton Commercial complex on Ohio 821.

• A leased 1,300-square-foot space is being used for group exercise classes.

• Awesome Abs, Silver Sneakers and yoga take place in the Oak Room.

• Pilates and dance classes are held in the Elizabeth Sugden Broughton Community Building.

• Spin classes are being held in the Buckeye Room.

• The YMCA expects to expand into a space next to the group exercise area to offer weight and cardio equipment.

• For information: 740-373-2250

Source: Marietta Family YMCA.


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