Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


January 23, 2014

YMCA close to final OK

Planning Board approves $21M expansion


The permit was approved with 22 conditions.

“This marks a significant milestone in the approval process necessary to begin the transformation of the current facility,” the YMCA said in a statement issued last week, after the Planning Board’s approval.

“The town of Andover has been very fair and helpful in working with us,” Gary Morelli, the Y’s chief operating officer, said. “We appreciate their due diligence as this is a very significant project for both the Merrimack Valley YMCA and the community.”

The new Haverhill Street 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 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 Ives.

The first phase of construction will add the 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, 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 new construction, 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.

The Andover/North Andover YMCA is also partnering with Lawrence General Hospital to open a 5,000-square-foot Community Health and Physical Therapy Center at the site, Ives said.

And Merrimack College will also be bringing an Active Learning Center, integrating “both physical activity and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education,” to the facility, he said.

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