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YMCA opens new fitness loft

| Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2007

The Regional Family YMCA recently opened its new fitness loft, constructed in the facility's upstairs area.

Many of the funds used for the addition came from a monetary contribution from John "William" Levergood.

Steve Simon, executive director of the facility, said when the facility was originally planned, a fitness room was part of the second floor.

"Fortunately we were able to complete that project after receiving a sizable donation from Mr. Levergood," Simon said. "It's called the Fitness Loft, but really it's a multipurpose room where we hold group exercise classes, gymnastics, our Silver Sneakers program and, starting in January, a ballroom instruction program."

Because of the new loft area, the gym has been freed up. In the past, because of limited space, most programs were held in the gym.

"Having this room really makes the programs we have downstairs a lot better," Simon said. "We used to have classes on both sides of the gymnasium and instructors had to compete with the noise created from the neighboring program. It was just a nasty cycle."

"We're trying to build and open up a new day-care facility in Connellsville and we're looking at purchasing land to build that day-care," Simon said. "We also hope to add a multipurpose room in that facility to offer some programs to the young people in the Connellsville area."

YMCA officials are looking into expanding and enlarging the current fitness center and creating a family/teen room.

"It would be a game room that would have the pool table and air hockey games and also a computer lounge that would allow youth to play interactive games that would make exercising entertaining," Simon said. "During the day it could be used by adults, in the afternoon families could utilize the room and in the evening it could be a teen center."

Further down the road, the facility would like to have a swimming pool.

"The building was designed for that and we're still hoping for that," Simon said.

Other plans include enhancing and expanding the outdoor activities.

"We have 16 acres here and we want to beautify what we have and add more services like a basketball court and possibly a couple tennis courts to try and make it more of a park-like setting," Simon said.

The Y also would like to continue to provide services to the Tri-Town area, a place where Levergood hoped could be reached with the donation he made to the facility.

"That's still a major goal for us and we're working out how we can provide services to the children in that area," Simon said. "Whether we bring them to this facility or provide programs at the new Connellsville facility -- we're looking into what can be done."

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