Sewickley Valley YMCA prepares to reopen child care center
What's old is new again in the Sewickley Valley YMCA as a $2.5 million project will reintroduce space that has gone unused for nearly 40 years.
Part of the YMCA's construction plan called for reusing the Blackburn Road facility's third floor, which last was used to house men returning home from war, Executive Director Trish Hooper said.
So when leaders later this month celebrate the grand opening of that space and the reopening of areas in the basement and first and second floors, the YMCA will be able to serve more kids in its child care program, Hooper said.
Hooper said children — who now are placed in other locations in Sewickley — will return July 1.
Overall, more than 200 children, ages 6 weeks through fifth grade, are enrolled at on-site and off-site programs, including at Moon Area School District's five elementary schools and middle school, and Ambridge Area School District's State Street Elementary School.
On the main floor, renovations unified food-preparation space, allowing staff to offer healthier snacks for children, Hooper said.
Before work started, a kitchen was tucked into a closet and a microwave sat on the other side of one of the child care rooms.
Child restrooms are located within classrooms, making it “much more manageable for the staff and much less disruptive for the kids to be able to have the bathroom right in the classroom,” Hooper said.
Changes to the YMCA's lower-level locker rooms offer private changing areas and shower stalls, which Hooper said will be able to better accommodate families and those who need assistance.
On the top floor, the once-forgotten space has been revamped and will offer computers, study time and activity space for young students.
“This is tremendous space,” Hooper said. “It's going to be a great home base for our school-aged child care.”
Dormers bring in light and offer expansive views of Sewickley and hillsides in Moon.
“As we were looking at what the building looked like 110 years ago, we wanted to bring some of those features back that had gotten lost over the years,” Hooper said. “You look out now and you get a cute little view.”
While many people won't see the inside work, pillars located on the front of the building received attention during the work.
“We believe these are the original pillars from when the building was built in 1904,” Hooper said. “We really wanted to try to respect some of the history of the original building.”
Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.