SMI Mikeala Messier YMCA fitness center ws

Mikeala Messier runs on the treadmill in the natural light brought in through the new windows of the Fitness Center at the Smithfield YMCA, which will be celebrated in a grand re-opening ceremony in January. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)

SMITHFIELD – The Smithfield YMCA will host a grand reopening ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 25, to celebrate a newly renovated fitness center and outdoor facelifts to the facility. More improvements are on the way this summer thanks to grants for the pool area and childcare department.

Smithfield YMCA CEO Shauna Lewis said she is excited to share the upgrades and renovations with the community, adding that the finished product is a credit to the dedicated staff members who secured the grants for the facility.

Lewis, promoted to CEO in May, said she made a few changes she felt were needed during her 20 years working for the YMCA. She updated the lobby furniture, added complimentary coffee, and renovated the locker rooms.

“We’re in the final steps to really making the Y all come together beautifully,” Lewis said.

After a driver crashed a car into the fitness center last summer, the YMCA, located at 15 Deerfield Drive, repairs included modern lighting and upgraded equipment. Renovations and improvements, started last June and recently finished and finalized, include:

• A new water bottle filling station

• A new member navigation center with laptops

• New exterior paint to brighten the facility

• Two new YMCA logo exterior signs

• Music added to the fitness center

• New fitness classes added to the schedule

• New windows in the fitness center

• And new LED lights.

“This is a functional, strength training and fitness room,” Lewis said. She said members can come in to work out on their own, join group classes, or get personal fitness training.

The grand reopening ceremony will be held rom 10 a.m. to noon. There will be fitness class demonstrations every 15 minutes, raffles every 10 minutes, two door prizes, chair massages, Simply Nutrition shakes and tea samples, free babysitting and more.

Lewis said the membership fee will be waived during the reopening as well.

The YMCA received an anonymous $82,000 grant in late November to give the pool area a facelift as well.

“The pool area is really the last of it. It’s the last area that hasn’t been recently renovated,” Lewis said.

Lewis said the pool decks will be resurfaced, and the doors, walls, ceiling, rafters and ductwork will be painted. Also, the pool area will get five new starting blocks for swim lessons and swim team practice.

Repairs will begin in mid-June, and continue for approximately three or four weeks, in time for summer swim sessions.

In addition to the $82,000 grant, the YMCA’s childcare department received a $15,000 grant from YUSA for leadership and character development. Along with the funds, two childcare staff members traveled to New Orleans for atraining to help implement the grant.

Lewis said the grant will bring more arts, crafts, activities and team building to the childcare center. Being a non-profit, Lewis said any grant money is valued. Most grant money typically goes directly toward membership scholarships, summer camp, afterschool programs and more.

Lewis said the YMCA coordinated with Greenville Public Library to provide transportation for Gallagher Middle School students to the library after school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the YMCA on Tuesday and Thursday for members.

As a smaller YMCA, Lewis said the center’s rooms are always in use, with programs shuffling around between its limited spaces. She said membership has steadily increased over the years, and the center needs more space.

“We really need one to two dedicated program areas,” she said.

With a small staff and regular members, Lewis said the YMCA is like family.

Moving forward, Lewis said the YMCA is looking for more grants to expand. She said because it is located on a wetland, there is not much room for expansion, but adding space dedicated to fitness classes would help the center. She anticipates the planned expansion to cost approximately $450,000, and will be paid for through fundraising and grants.

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