Statesboro Family YMCA has scheduled its grand opening for Oct. 28, to be preceded by introductory events there and elsewhere in town.
Renovations are nearing completion at the new Y’s home, the former Sallie Zetterower Elementary School complex at 409 Clairborne Avenue, where it intersects Brannen Street. Local volunteers began discussions toward organizing the chapter about four years ago.
“It’s hard to believe. I think we started on this in 2013,” said Bob Mikell, chair of the Statesboro YMCA Board of Managers. “To finally see the dream come to life in a very real way is pretty exciting.”
Some work on the building and grounds, including paving of the parking area, remains to be done. But the old school gym has been transformed, including new windows that let sunlight pour in, to be the YMCA’s 11,000-square-foot wellness center. The YMCA of Coastal Georgia, of which Statesboro Family YMCA is a branch, is also renovating part of an adjacent classroom wing and the cafeteria as activity spaces.
A fire marshal’s approval will also be needed before the wellness center can be occupied. But YMCA representatives expressed confidence Thursday that the facility will be ready enough not only in time for the grand opening, but for a “demo day” event, 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19.
“We’ll have some of our new instructors out there kind of showcasing the classes, getting everybody excited, and then the 27th, the night before the opening, we’re also going to be hosting a healthy hour, which will be like a networking event for young professionals,” said Hillary Bradbury, marketing and communications director for the YMCA of Coastal Georgia.
“Healthy hour” will really be two hours, 5-7 p.m. Participants will play games such as yard bowling, bocce and cornhole and will also get tours, she said.
The “state-of-the-art cardio and strength equipment,” noted in the YMCA’s grand opening announcement also remains to be installed. The facility will include a boxing studio, Child Watch and Kid Zone rooms for preschool and school-aged children, a dedicated teen room and separate studios for yoga, Pilates, dance and group exercise classes.
An open house is slated for grand opening day, Saturday, Oct. 28, with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., tours of the facility and an opportunity to meet staff members.
The demo day will take place Oct. 19 even if it has to be held outside while the interior is finished, she said. But after checking with Statesboro YMCA Branch Director Tory Joyner, Bradbury said Joyner is confident the event can be held inside.
Meanwhile, the new YMCA and its programs will be represented downtown at the FirstFriday event the evening of Oct. 6 and at the Mainstreet Farmers Market on Saturday morning, Oct. 14, Bradbury said.
Joyner currently leads a local staff of about six people, and part-time instructors will probably increase the number to 12 to 15 employees, Bradbury said.
The Statesboro Y is selling charter memberships without a joining fee and throwing in commemorative items including a special charter member key card and T-shirt for a 12-month dues commitment.
Its Facebook page is “Statesboro YMCA” which has a link to the regional website, http://ymcaofcoastalga.org, for more info.