Out With The Old Y, In With The New Y

Being a reporter sometimes seems like the best job in the world, because occasionally I get to experience things most people never get to do, like flying in a B-17 plane from World War II. That was the closest to being Superman I’ll ever get. Once, I got to ride in a hovercraft, grinning like a maniac while the thing sped from the parking lot to the icy lake to the open waters without a pause.

Last week I got a sneak peek at the new YMCA and aquatic center at Worthington’s Minnesota West Community and Technical College, and I spent most of the tour wriggling in excitement like a five-year-old at a county fair. Fortunately, I had the video camera’s tripod along with me, so my footage wasn’t filmed in Wobble-O-Vision.

To see the video, and get a sneak peek of the new YMCA, go to http://www.dglobe.com/event/videos/.

You’ll be hearing a lot about the new YMCA this week from the Daily Globe, and you’ll be seeing some gorgeous photos too, because I took the tour along with the Globe’s photographer, Brian Korthals. He probably thinks I’m crazy, going around a huge YMCA with a video camera and grinning like an idiot.

But I go to the YMCA every weekday for a swim. I’ve lost more than 20 pounds, my blood pressure has gone down, and I now have actual muscles in my arms for the first time in 10 years. The people at the Y have been wonderful and supportive, staff and members alike. I even enjoy the giggly, occasionally shrieking little girls who sometimes share the locker room with the adults.

The new YMCA will mean a lot to a lot of people in Worthington and Nobles County.

I could go on for hours about the ginormous gymnasium, the kid-friendly children’s gym, the locker rooms with actual shower curtains or the spacious workout room with all the equipment I have no idea how to use (but I’m sure 10 helpful Y members would explain to me the moment I asked) but what really caught my attention was the pool. The pool is in a much larger room, and has six lanes (up from four), a diving board, a climbing wall and two water slides, one for adults and older kids and one, shaped like a frog, for the pre-school set. There are even a few little fountains in the kids’ part of the pool.

When I went swimming on Friday, something on the old YMCA’s roof had gone wrong and it was raining into the pool. Actually, it was like someone had opened a faucet from the ceiling, and water from that day’s rain and snow was pouring into the pool. They were talking about going up to the roof and checking on it when I wandered out of the building after my (rainy) swim.

In its time, the old YMCA meant a lot to a lot of people too. But as one of the newer Y members, I’m looking forward to the unrainy ceiling, the temperature-controlled locker rooms and the pool large enough that we don’t have to swim two to a lane most days.

And pretty soon, the new YMCA’s halls, too, will be echoing with the sound of giggling and occasionally, shrieking children, just as it should be.

2 Responses

  1. Bob

    I moved away from Worthington almost 20 years ago and wish I would have taken the time to return to Worthington to walk through the old Y’ before it is gone forever. I spent a lot of time there as a kid.

  2. shiny

    A lot of people have spent a lot of time at the old Y. It was an absolutely wonderful facility when it was built, and thousands of people have gotten a great deal out of it. It’ll be sad to see it go.

    I’ve heard rumors that one or more groups is looking at buying the building, though I’m not sure whether they’ll keep it open as it is, change it into something else, or just tear down the whole thing.

    As far as I know now (and I am very much NOT an insider in any of this, so please don’t take this as gospel!), however, there are no plans to tear it down, so you may still have time to get to town and have a look.

    I’d also recommend that you take a look at the new YMCA though, just to see what they’re up to here in town. Prairie Elementary is also worth a look if you haven’t seen it, as well as the Prairie Justice Center.

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