Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


October 17, 2013

YMCA expansion plans advancing

Project aiming to break ground next month

For more than four decades, the Andover/North Andover YMCA has served as an integral part of the community — but since its opening, by and large, the facility has remained the same.

That’s about to change.

Officials are now pitching a $21 million expansion of the YMCA complex on Haverhill Street to town officials. The project aims to nearly double the size of the dual recreation and fitness destination and bring it in line with other YMCA facilities across the country, according to Stephen Ives, CEO of the Merrimack Valley YMCA.

“The Y has been an integral part of the community for more than 40 years,” Ives said. “As we expand this and make it even more significant, it will have an even more profound impact over the next 40 years.”

The project is before the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals, and an interdepartmental review putting the proposal under a multidimensional lens was held last week.

While the Planning Board continued its review of the plans to Nov. 12, Ives said the YMCA is still aiming to break ground on the first of two phases of the project as early as next month.

“We still hope to break ground this November or December,” he said. “A lot depends on permitting and planning, and the Zoning Board of Appeals. But assuming all that continues to go well and smoothly, we’ll break ground on the first portion.”

The first phase of construction will add a roughly 3,000-square-foot childcare center to the left side of the building, in addition to site work in preparation for the second phase of the project, Ives said.

The second phase will include the construction of a 21/2-story “glass-enclosed structure” that will make up the bulk of the expansion project, Ives said. The addition will house a multipurpose room, exercise and weight-training facility and a 3,000-square-foot active living center for older adults, also referred to by Ives as a senior center.

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