September 8, 2008

Renovated YWCA Pool to Open This Week

By Kellen Henry

Children that receive care at the YWCA Child Enrichment Center will be the first to splash in the YWCA's new swimming pool at its reopening celebration on Tuesday.

The remodeled pool and locker area will be on display at the Quarrier Street fitness center at a dedication and open house from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

"We're wrapping it up, putting the final touches of paint and carpet down right now and cleaning over the weekend," YWCA marketing director Laura Jordan said Friday.

The Charleston community and the Nautilus-run fitness center's members raised more than $1.6 million to repair the building's leaking roof, work on the heating and ventilation system and replace the obsolete 1920s swimming pool.

Though the center remained open through the remodeling, clients will no longer have to dodge tarps and construction work while using the four-story facility, Jordan said.

A vibrant paint job, new carpeting, a ten-person hot tub and redesigned locker room areas will also greet patrons. The locker rooms were rearranged to make best use of the space and will feature new individual showers. The women's locker room will also have a wall-to-wall makeup mirror and built-in hair dryers.

"Because we saw this as a long-term investment for the people in our community, our talented committee of volunteer professionals secured the best possible labor and materials to do the job right, and we are so proud of the finished project," said Kit Wellford, chair of the Building Renovations Committee.

The dedication ceremony brings the YWCA a long way from its stance two and a half years ago on the Quarrier Street building, when the daunting repair costs almost cost them their fitness program.

But through fundraising efforts, the exterior of the building was repaired for about $300,000 and the interior updates followed last spring.

"The board members are thrilled with the outcome and I believe so is everyone who's seen the building so far," Jordan said.

At Tuesday's ceremony, the public is invited to tour the building, speak with donors and remodeling committee members and enjoy refreshments.

The YWCA will also hold a ribbon cutting and officially dedicate the pool in honor of philanthropist Betty Schoenbaum, who donated $150,000 to that project.

The new pool is 20 feet by 60 feet, with a handicap-accessible ramp replacing the old pool's lift.

And the YWCA hopes their new pool can serve the community even longer than the 86 years of the pool they just replaced.

"It's just a historic location. People tell me they learned to swim in this pool 70 years ago and everyone is very pleased," Jordan said.

The fitness center's remodeled areas will be officially open and ready for Nautilus members Wednesday morning.

Reach Kellen Henry at [email protected] or 348-5179.

Originally published by Staff writer.

(c) 2008 Charleston Gazette, The. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.