The YMCA broke ground Feb. 20 on the Haas Family Gymnasium, the second of three major projects that will enhance the Point Loma facility.
“We know that Point Loma deserves a better YMCA and an expanded and improved YMCA to meet the needs of the community,” said executive director Rob Sauvajot. “We know that with this expansion we will expand the services we can provide the community.”
The Haas Family Gymnasium is expected to be completed in about eight months and will feature a full-size basketball court, allowing for year-round hoops, volleyball and gymnastics, along with serving as a temporary home to fitness classes.
Currently, the YMCA holds its seasonal basketball leagues at Point Loma High.
“This is a really nice feature of our YMCA which we’ve been waiting for for a really long time,” Sauvajot said.
A new gym has been in the works since the YMCA began its capital campaign in 2000. The main reason for the delay is that officials wanted to secure every dollar of the $2.5 million necessary for the project before beginning construction.
YMCA of San Diego County’s 14 facilities are the only debt-free group among YMCA sites across the nation, according to Rich Collato, president/CEO of YMCA of San Diego County.
In addition to being built debt-free, the Haas Family Gymnasium is unique due to its partnership with adjacent Correia Middle School. The school will use the new facility for physical education classes while offering parking spaces to the YMCA in return.
“This idea of taking some space and jointly sharing it for the kids and the community is absolutely marvelous,” said San Diego Unified School District trustee John de Beck, “because there’s a shortage of parks and recreation areas for kids on the Point.”
Among the attendees at the ceremony were de Beck, YMCA officials, donors and board members, representatives from ROEL Construction, and District 2 City Councilmember Kevin Faulconer.
Each was given a hard hat and a shovel to get the project started.
“This is going to be a remarkable facility and one that all of us are very, very proud of,” Faulconer said. “I know we are going to have people from all over the city come to look at what we are going to do here.”
Sauvajot said his hope is that once the gymnasium is completed, the remaining $1.3 million will be raised to start the third and final phase of construction at the YMCA. That phase involves the demolition of the existing main building to create a two-story structure with a new lobby, administrative offices, exercise studios, teen and senior center, and supervised child area, and renaming it to become the Claude and Gladys Ryan Family YMCA.
“We’re never going to be huge, but we’ll be a much, much better ‘Y’ that will maximize our space better to effectively serve the community,” Sauvajot said. “With the third phase, we’ll finally have an adequate facility to meet the needs of the community.”
Peninsula Family YMCA is located at 4390 Valeta St. For more information, call (619) 226-8888 or visit penin-sula.ymca.org.