The Andover Townsman
---- — The Merrimack Valley YMCA will host a groundbreaking for its Andover/North Andover Branch expansion project on Friday, March 28, at 9 a.m. at the facility, 165 Haverhill St.
Key YMCA leaders and stakeholders will comment on the significance of the $21 million expansion project for both the Merrimack Valley YMCA and the surrounding communities it serves.
The approved master plan for the Andover/North Andover expansion calls for double the current space from 50,000 square feet to more than 100,000 square feet. The expansion will create a community space dedicated to active healthy living that matches the current needs and anticipated future needs of the community. The project also calls for the creation of a new access road and additional parking.
The Andover/North Andover YMCA facility has remained relatively unchanged since it was first built in 1973. According to the National YMCA standards, each member requires 50 square feet. With the current membership, the branch is providing significantly less square footage.
The new YMCA is expected to feature a number of enhancements, including a new childcare development center, an expanded aquatics facility, active living center for older adults, expanded wellness center, an active learning center and a rehabilitation center operated by Lawrence General Hospital.
The $21 million cost of the expansion is being paid for through fundraising efforts and tax-exempt bond financing provided by Enterprise Bank. The nonprofit YMCA will continue its fundraising efforts, which stand at about $5.7 million. The Y has a goal of $7 million to complement its $14 million in financing.
There are currently 8,000 members who attend the Andover/North Andover facility, with more expected as the facility expands.
The project is expected to wrap up in early 2015. Existing programs will remain open during construction, officials have said.