WDEL News: Brandywine YMCA unveils fruits of $5M renovation

By: Kevin Hayes

January 13, 2019

Just over a year-and-a-half and $5.5 million later, there is more to be excited about, just off Concord Pike.

“We’re celebrating the completion of our expansion project. We’ve added 19,000 sq. ft. on top of a building that was built in 1966, so this is going to allow us to provide more programs and services to everyone in the Brandywine community,” said Linda Risk, executive director of the Brandywine YMCA. “We did have a pretty small facility for the population in North Wilmington so it was crowded. We are going to be able to create a lot of opportunities for all ages and all backgrounds, to be able to come in and enjoy the Y together.”

The facility now has two additional studios for programs and classes, brand new equipment, and support rafters to help people with physical limitations to be able to access and utilize different machines and classes.

Along with the new spaces for working out are new spaces for children.

“That might be my favorite part of the project because kids can come in and move freely between different, but connected areas,” she said. “You might have a 3-year-old and a 7-year-old. Mom and dad can drop them off and they’ll be able to draw, do art and play games, or they can move into the other room where there’s movement-based activities that really instill that importance of physical fitness at a young age.”

Risk said that with financial aid and different programs available through the nonprofit, they want to serve everyone in the community.

“We want to be a one-stop shop for all families who have family members of all ages,” she added. “It could be grandma coming in, your child and you can get your workout in. There’s something for everyone.”

“We have lots of wonderful, new things between the new rooms, the youth fitness center and all of this brand new equipment,” said Deborah Bagatta-Bowles, president and CEO of YMCA Delaware. “The bottom line is impact in Delaware.”

Part of that impact and the project that will allow the YMCA to better serve its existing members and any new ones was the process of renovating and doing it without any major interruptions.

“We had great project managers, great engineers, great support from DelDOT, and our legislators so we came up with a way to do it so that was beautiful, but safe, and is everything that we dreamed of and more,” added Bagatta-Bowles.

“We really did not want our members to be inconvenienced and close the building down, and that really required a lot of planning because there were certain portions that we had to close at certain times,” said Risk, citing that the collaboration and effort from crews and staff were vital to a relatively smooth transition from old to new during the YMCA renovation.

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