The Greater Burlington Y is a crossroads for people from different social and economic worlds. It’s a community. Soon, the Y community will have a new home.
After more than 150 years, the Y’s sense of community has become harder to maintain because our current building is physically inaccessible for far too many, inefficient, and ill-suited for today’s needs. By constructing a new home just up the street, the Y is renewing its commitment to the community.
A BRIGHT FUTURE
The new facility will be bright, accessible, energy efficient, sustainable, and welcoming. It will be designed for modern community needs—including not just better fitness, aquatics and child care facilities, but also community gathering places.
Our new 50,000 square foot building will transform the Y and create a revitalized community partner poised to offer the facility and programs that our community needs and deserves, including:
Modern, bright, and inviting fitness, weight, and group exercise facilities.
A light-filled aquatics center with two pools.
A mixed-use gymnasium.
50 additional infant and toddler child care slots in a secure, modern space designed for early learning.
Fully ADA compliant space with an elevator and universally accessible design.
Energy efficiency that benefits the environment and the bottom line.
Common ground for people from all across the community.
The opportunity to increase programming that supports an aging population.
The new facility is projected to greatly increase membership, restoring the Y’s revenue engine and generating the funds needed to support community service programs and scholarships.
Project Timeline: The Y's Search for a New Home
2001 - 2009
2001: Master Plan lays out options for renovating existing Y facility at 266 College St.
2002: Y considers move to Main Street (current site of Perrywinkle’s Jewelry)
2004-2005: Moran Plant emerges as possible site for a new Y in partnership with the city of Burlington. In 2005 City elections, Burlington voters deny the proposal.
2005-2006: The Y considers and then rejects Pine Street location (currently site of Dealer.com)
2008: Champlain College outbids the Y to buy the site of the Ethan Allen Club at 298 College St.
2012 - 2014
2012: Y launches “Staying in the Heart Campaign” with renewed focus on renovating current facility at 266 College St. More than $4 million raised in the first year of the campaign.
2013-2014: At the urging of the City of Burlington, the Y pauses its project to consider a move to Memorial Auditorium. Subsequent research determines that the facility is not adequate.
2015 - 2020
2015: Y purchases the former Ethan Allen Club at 298 College St. from Champlain College, which has determined that its planned dormitories will not work on the site. Current facility at 266 College St. listed for sale. Staying in the Heart Campaign re-launched with nearly $5 million raised.
2016: Responding to feedback from potential donors, new Y CEO Kyle Dodson sets the campaign goal to $15 million. The new project attracts $4 million in new support in its first 6 months for a total of $9 million raised.
2017: More than $5.5 million in new commitments bring the Staying in the Heart Campaign to within $500,000 of the total $15 million goal. The Y Board authorizes planning and contracting to begin construction in 2018.
2018: Staying in the Heart Campaign surpasses $17 million raised, helping meet growing project costs. The project broke ground in the fall of 2018.
2020: Anticipated grand opening of the new Y.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we need a new YMCA?
Our current Y facility, built in 1934, is outdated, inefficient, and inaccessible to many in our community. It has become a barrier to membership and threatens our ability to provide many of the Y’s crucial services. A new facility will revitalize the Y, increase member retention, and boost membership upon opening, providing much needed revenue for years to come. The new Y will allow us to expand our on-site child care center and create 50 new infant & toddler slots in a state with pressing shortages.
What will happen to the current YMCA building at 266 College Street?
We have sold our current building, but have an agreement in place to lease back the space until construction is complete on the new facility.
Where will the new YMCA be built?
Just 150 steps away at 298 College Street, which was formerly the Ethan Allen Club.
Does the YMCA own the land for the new building?
When is the new Y going to open?
The YMCA broke ground in fall 2018, with a tentative opening date of early 2020.
Will the current Y remain open during construction?
Yes. Our fitness, aquatics, child care, and other programs will continue in our current building until we open our new facility at 298 College Street.
Will there be two pools?
Yes, we will have 2 pools - a program pool and a lap pool.
A key consideration as we approached the building design was to have two separate bodies of water. Two pools better serves both those who want cooler water for workouts and those who prefer a bit warmer water for swim lessons or a relaxing/therapeutic pool experience; it also provides the capacity to keep at least one pool open even if there's an accident or any other need to temporarily close one of the pools.
In the lap pool, we will have the option to alternate the set up between 4 and 5 lanes (25 yards), depending on the program taking place in the pool.
Our program pool will have the ability to mark off 2 lanes, each just over 15 yards in length, as well as provide ample recreational space. Families will also enjoy a Splash Pad with interactive water features - dump water, spray water, etc. - helping young children to become comfortable and confident around water.
The Y will continue to be the home of the Dynamo Swim Team. Our intention is to have a starting block at the deep end of each lane in the lap pool. Our aquatics team is discussing creative ways to use our pool space to accomodate all those looking to swim throughout the week.
Will there be sauna, steam room, or hot tub facilities in the new building?
There will be a co-ed sauna on the pool deck for all members to use. Our experience—and that of other Ys with whom we have consulted—is that steam rooms and hot tubs are not only relatively expensive to install and maintain, but also serve a small portion of the population.
What considerations were given to the design of the new facility?
We worked hard to balance the constraints of the site and our budget against what we have heard from our members and both local and national Y market data on what features will attract and serve the most people in the community. Our mission as a Y is to serve as great a cross-section of the community as we can. Broad, robust membership is how Y’s remain financially sustainable and able to provide financial aid as well as low- and no-cost programs. Confronted with difficult decisions, we returned again and again to both local and national Y insights on what will best achieve the greatest good.
Will member rates increase?
That is yet to be decided, although we do expect strong growth in membership numbers that will help us keep any increases as modest as possible.
Will there be parking and better child care drop off?
Yes. There will be dedicated space for child care drop-off and pick-up and approximately 40 spaces for member usage. We will devise an equitable way of making those spaces available. Our current facility at 266 College Street has no parking, so we feel good about being able to improve on that situation.
Will the Y continue to offer Financial Aid and Scholarships?
Yes. In 2018, with the help and generosity of our donors we were able to provide $470,000 in scholarships. Our new building will strengthen our economic engine, helping ensure that we can continue to provide support to those in need in our community.
Is this YMCA part of the National YMCA organization? Will they be providing money toward the campaign?
The Greater Burlington YMCA is part of the National YMCA organization. The National Organization does not support local YMCA capital campaigns with monetary donations. While we do pay a fee to the national Y, 100% of funds donated to the campaign stay in Vermont for this project.
How will the project be funded?
The project will be funded by a mix of private, community fundraising, the sale of the current facility at 266 College Street, and New Markets Tax Credits.
Does my membership fee support the Campaign or construction costs?
No—not directly. Membership fees are crucial for the general operation of the facility and Y mission work, but do not cover construction costs.
How will donations be recognized in the new building?
All donors to the Campaign, regardless of amount given, will be listed in our new building, unless you’d like to remain anonymous. In addition to the standard donor listing, those who make a gift of $5,000 or more will be recognized more prominently in the design of our donor wall. Significant room/building features are available for naming starting at $25,000. Please contact Rick Blount, VP of Development at Rblount@gbymca.org or 802-652-8146 for more information.
Is the YMCA a charity?
Yes, the Y is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that serves the needs of the Greater Burlington area. Your donations to the Y are tax-deductible and help us deliver needed programs and services to the community.
How can I support the Campaign?
You can donate here. Gifts are fully tax-deductible and gifts of $3,000 or more may be paid over three years.
What facilities and programs can be expected in the new building?
Our new 50,000 square foot building will transform the Y and offer the facility and programs our community needs and deserves, including:
- Modern, bright, and inviting space for cardio and weight equipment
- Three studio spaces for group exercise classes
- A light-filled aquatics center with two pools
- A mixed-use gymnasium
- A running/walking track greater than twice the size of the track in our current Y
- Expanded space dedicated to Drop-In Child Care
- 50 additional infant and toddler child care slots in a secure, modern space designed for early learning
- Fully ADA compliant with an elevator and universally accessible design
- Energy efficiency that benefits the environment and the bottom line
- Common ground, where people from across the community come together
- The opportunity to increase programming that supports individuals, youth, families, and an aging population
Staying in the Heart Campaign Committee
Rick Davis & Christine Stiller
Phil Daniels, Co-Chair
Lisa Ventriss, Co-Chair
Kyle Dodson, President & CEO
Rick Blount, Vice President of Development
Eliza Pickard, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations
Emily Kalucki, Donor Services Manager
"Now is the time to build the Y a home that fits our vision, our capabilities, and our passion to meet the community’s greatest challenges."
Kyle Dodson, President & CEO, GBYMCA