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"We're seeing some growth at this branch, and this is what we've been hearing from our members," said Carolyn Hamilton, vice president of marketing and membership for the Greater Joliet Area YMCA.
In response to that growth, the fitness center is being expanded and updated. The cycling studio has been removed and will be relocated to room that was previously used to host kids' birthday parties. Meanwhile, a staff office has also been eliminated and will be replaced with a small desk, according to Executive Director Bev Miller.
The larger fitness center will have new flooring, a new paint job and new equipment, including NuStep recumbent crosstrainers, Cybex arc trainers and StairMaster StepHill stair climbers.
Members who want a tutorial on how to use the new machines can ask a staff member for assistance, or sign up for a fitness orientation, Hamilton said.
Miller said some of the new equipment is aimed at helping novice fitness enthusiasts get comfortable in the gym.
"We'll have new circuit training equipment," she said. "It's a little more user friendly to people who are new at working out," Miller added.
Demolition began on Monday as workers gutted the west side of the fitness center, leaving the east side open so members can keep up with their fitness routines.
"We're keeping everything open," Miller said. "We're making sure that things are available to our members so they can get their workout in."
The west side of the center is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 26; renovations on the east side will start the next day, and are slated to be finished Sept. 2 in preparation for a Sept. 3 grand opening.
The YMCA's two pools are also slated for some updates; the pools will close Aug. 19 so they can be cleaned, drained and repaired. While the work is being completed, members are welcome to use the pools at the YMCA's other branches, including the Galowich YMCA and Smith Family YMCA in Joliet, Miller said.
Members who want to keep up with their workouts without the dust and noise of construction may also use the other branches during renovations.
"All of our improvements should be done by Labor Day," Miller said, adding staff hopes the improvements help eliminate obstacles — such as long wait times for machines — for fitness enthusiasts.
Grand opening slated for September
Hamilton said a grand opening celebration is tentatively slated for Sept. 3.
In the meantime, the YMCA is asking members to help design a T-shirt to commemorate the event.
From now until midnight on Saturday, Aug. 17, members can head to the C.W. Avery Family YMCA Facebook page to vote for which color they like best: charcoal grey, navy blue, purple and black.
On Sunday morning, voting will open on a theme or slogan for the T-shirt. Voters will have until Aug. 22 to pick their favorites.
The winning T-shirt design will be unveiled Sept. 3 on Facebook, and the first 1,000 adult members who visit the fitness center will receive a grand opening T-shirt, while supplies last.