FAQs

Q – What will the proposed new Y look like?
A – The new Washington Y building will be two-story with pre-engineered metal construction and windows on its north and south sides. The Y’s circular driveway entrance will be at the intersection of West 6th Street and North Ave D. There will not be a Y entrance on West Fifth Street.

Q – What does “Phase 1 building” mean?
A – The Y board has adopted a building plan that ultimately will include accommodations to address the growing needs of the community as expressed during our community forums, which were held in January 2014 and guided the Y board to determine whether to build a new building. There aren’t enough funds to build that entire facility now. Consequently, building will proceed in phases, with a design that will allow for additions with the least possible cost.

Q – Why does Washington need a new Y building now?
A – Washington Y board of directors and staff have been monitoring the increasing costs of structural repairs for over 15 years. The board has also monitored the increasing needs of the community to determine that the current facility space limits us to meet the identified growing needs.

Q – Why not remodel the current Y building?
A – The cost of remodeling the building at 121 East Main Street exceeds the cost of a new building. A remodel of the current building still would not allow room for growth, provide needed parking or green space needed for outdoor activities to meet the growing future needs of our community.

Q – Why not build the new Y at the current facility’s location?
A – Demolition of the current building would add at least $500,000 to the cost, and would require finding temporary sites for Y programs or discontinuing them during construction. As with a remodel of the current building, a new building located at 121 East Main still would not provide adequate parking, green space, or solve the problem of a building that couldn’t grow.

Q – How did the Y determine what to include in the first phase? In the second phase?
A – The Y board conducted facility usage studies to determine which program spaces serve the most Y members. The program spaces included in Phase 1 reflect the results of this study and will allow the Y to continue to offer the majority of the Y’s current programming, allow for program expansion and serve the greatest number of members to meet identified community needs. Phase 2 will include program space for all aquatic programs. Potential Phase 3 options could include a racquetball court, additional gym space for new or expanded programming and a kitchen, if a future need is determined.

Q – Why is there no swimming pool in the Phase 1 building?
A – The Y board and staff understand the need for an indoor pool in the community and the benefits that aquatic programs provide to all ages. After careful review, it was determined that the operational costs exceeded the resources that our Y has. Based upon projected costs and usage data, the plans for a pool will be included in Phase 2, providing the resources are available.

Q – Why doesn’t the Phase 1 building include a whirlpool or sauna in its adult locker room?
A –The Y board conducted usage studies in 2015 and 2016, concluding that the urgency for inclusion of these spaces in Phase 1 was not warranted. They will be included on the pool deck in Phase 2, following safely guidelines and best practices recommended by Y-USA and our insurance provider.

Q – How was the site on Fifth Street chosen?
A – The Fifth Street site has been identified by the City of Washington for the development of a Wellness Park. This Wellness Park will include ball fields, soccer fields, tennis courts, walking trails, green space and other recreational resources. Since the Y provides the City’s recreational services, locating its building next to the Wellness Park will benefit the park, the Y and the community as a whole.

Before the Y board chose the Fifth Street site, it looked at other locations including school grounds at Lincoln Elementary and Washington High School, which either were not large enough or were cost-prohibitive.

This location will be close (.7 miles) to Stewart Elementary School and the Early Childhood Learning Center, the new location for the Y childcare program. Children walking to the new Y from these buildings will not have to cross or walk along West Fifth Street, which is a busier traffic thoroughfare than West Sixth Street.

Q – Why isn’t there a kitchen?
A – The kitchen in the current facility is not being used for preparing meals at the present time. Future phases may include a kitchen.

Q – Why is the new gym so much larger than the old gym?
A – The current gym has outlived its usefulness for Y programming. It is not large enough for multiple activities and as a result, some programs or activities can’t happen. The current gym has no spectator space, which the new gym will have. Because of these inadequacies, participation in gym programs has dropped. The Wellman branch, in contrast, is used 126% more than the Washington gym for youth and adult programs. With adequate gym space, the Washington Community Y can offer a variety of clinics, tournaments and additional youth sports and adult leagues

Q – Why does the new building have fewer square feet than the current building?
A – The new building has a more efficient design without wasted space. The current building
uses many square feet for hallways. Washington County Y’s childcare program will soon move to its new location at the Early Childhood Learning Center at Stewart Elementary School, further reducing the Y’s square footage needs.

Q – When will construction of the Phase 1 building start?
A – The Y board projects a fall 2018 construction start date, depending on successful fundraising.

Q – When could construction of Phase 2 begin?
A – Phase 2 construction will depend on additional funds above and beyond the initial campaign goal of $9 million. The Y board will continue to work diligently to ensure that Phase 2 work can begin as soon as possible.

Q – How much money will the new Y building cost?
A – Current cost estimate for Phase 1 construction is approximately $9 million. Project cost estimate for Phase 2 construction is approximately $3.5 million.

Q – How will the Washington Community Y fund its construction?
A – So far, over $4,480,962 has been committed from private donations. The Y has also received a grant from the Washington County Riverboat Foundation for $3,500,000.  The Y board will seek grant funding from Enhance Iowa totaling $900,000. An additional $713,575 will be sought by fundraising.

Q – How will the Washington Community Y fund operation and maintenance of a new building?
A – The new building’s design means it can be operated and maintained for less than the current Y building’s cost, while allowing expanded program offerings for all ages.

Q – Will the new Y building offer 24-hour access?
A – Yes. The new building’s design includes dedicated access to the 2nd story while the rest of the building remains closed, allowing 24-hour access, contributing to the identified community need of 3rd shift workers and accommodating weekend and holiday schedules.

Q – When will the old pool close?
A – The Y board has made its decision to keep the pool at the current facility open as long as possible. The board understands the importance of the Y’s aquatic programs and will strive to keep the pool in operation until the new one is built.

Q – What happens to the building at 121 East Main Street?
A – The Y board is considering all options for the Main Street building. There have been conversations with potentially interested community partners and groups interested in historic renovation to gauge interest in future uses of the facility. While the existing pool is in operation, the Y will look for tenants to rent other portions of the building.

Q – What happens to the Y on the Square?
A – The Y has a 5-year lease on this building, which ends in May 2019. If at that time an additional lease period is offered, the Y board will determine whether to continue to lease this space. The new Y building on Fifth Street includes similar square footage dedicated for fitness use.