CCH center to house new YMCA

2013-02-15T08:55:00Z 2013-02-15T12:14:52Z CCH center to house new YMCABy Julie Blum Columbus Telegram
February 15, 2013 8:55 am  • 

COLUMBUS - The Columbus Family YMCA will have a home at a new $20 million health and wellness center.

Michael Hansen, president and CEO of Columbus Community Hospital, announced Thursday the plan to construct the Columbus Family Health and Wellness Center. The center will provide medical wellness offered through the hospital, general wellness through the YMCA and child care services.

"It is a big project and something we are very excited about. It ties closely to our mission and our community health needs assessment," Hansen said.

Building plans and location of the facility are still being ironed out, but Hansen said it will be built on the CCH campus, probably east of the hospital.

The next few weeks will focus on confirming a site and working on design plans. Hopes are to break ground in August with construction taking about 18 months to complete. Hansen said the project will be paid for by the hospital. The YMCA and child care provider will lease space from the hospital to offer their services.

The idea behind the center is tied into the Comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment released last year that identified health concerns in the county and the surrounding area. In the assessment, obesity, diabetes and heart disease were major concerns. The center will help address those by integrating fitness, wellness, rehabilitation services and child care in one area.

Medical and general wellness will be offered in one building, with separate entrances to each, and child care offered in another building. The medical portion will have outpatient services such as physical, occupational and speech therapies. General wellness will house YMCA programs and fitness equipment. A child care provider will offer early childhood education and is still being sought, Hansen said.

The YMCA has been searching for a new home for months, and Executive Director Corey Briggs said the center is a perfect collaboration for both the hospital and the YMCA.

"We've known all along with our aging facility that we've got to do something," Briggs said.

The YMCA was to be part of an educational and wellness campus that would have included a new Columbus Middle School and health department. But voters rejected a bond proposal to fund the school in October 2011.

"The middle school was our first attempt," Briggs said. "This is a gift. This is something you are never going to see again in your life."

The space at the health and wellness center will be bigger than the current YMCA facility, so some programs could be expanded, Briggs said. Plans don't include having tennis or racket ball courts, but there will be a swimming pool, which the current facility has but can't operate.

Tennis and racket ball could continue to be offered at the current YMCA after the center is complete, depending on whether the building is sold or rented out. Briggs said there has been interest from one party about possibly buying the YMCA building.

Hansen said they would have moved forward with plans for the center even if the YMCA hadn't come on board. The YMCA, though, was seen as a good fit to pair with the medical wellness programs to offer preventive care to the community.

"They work well together as far as continuity of care and continuing care. If the medical wellness people get to the point where all they need now is a general workout routine, they can easily transition to the Y. Vice versa, if someone is working out at the Y and become injured, they can utilize the medical wellness services," he said.

Dr. Troy Loeffelholz, superintendent of Columbus Public Schools, said the construction of the health and wellness center won't have an impact on building a new high school or middle school at the Discoverer site east of the hospital along 38th Street.

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