Smarter use of space: Southeast Huntsville YMCA debuts new facility upgrades to better serve members

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Construction crews have been busy at the Southeast YMCA on Weatherly Road for the past year, and today, staff and community members celebrated the facility's new upgrades.

YMCA leaders invited Mayor Tommy Battle and the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce to cut the ribbon on the improvements, which have been in use for several weeks.

The YMCA recently underwent several renovations to better serve members.  The Southeast YMCA serves approximately 9,000 members, and it's not just a gym.

"This facility was re-opened in 2003 and it was due for a renovation, so we made a substantial commitment to improve the member experience down here," said Scott Sealey, Chairman of the YMCA Board of Directors.

The improvements include updates to the childcare areas, new equipment in the workout room and a brand new spin bike room.

Member Thandi Gooden said that's one of her favorite things to see.

"Personally, and selfishly, the spin room is great -- now that we're out of the 'closet' that we were in, in the back room. I think they've done a great job - just their vision of continuously improving," said Gooden.

Crews also made major upgrades downstairs in the older portion of the building, which was previously just storage space.  Now, the downstairs area includes new meeting rooms, tables and areas for use by children in the YMCA's after-school program.

"The Y is focused on youth development -- that's one of our primary areas of focus," said Sealey. "We need to have good facilities that are safe for our children, and that was one of our objectives with this renovation."

The facility upgrades make smarter use of the building's space -- the Southeast YMCA has approximately 75,000 square feet being used now.  This includes new meeting rooms for public use.

"One of the things we wanted to do was provide this area of town a meeting space, get exposure for our YMCA down here, but offer another service to this area of town which we previously didn't have available," said Sealey.

The Southeast YMCA serves approximately 9,000 members with swim lessons, fitness programs, and healthy youth and child development activities.  The YMCA is a non-profit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.  It also honors its commitment that no one is turned away for inability to pay.  One of the ways the YMCA does this is through its annual Giving Campaign.