Bay College and Northern Lights YMCA to continue partnership for next 50 years

South Central UP

ESCANABA, Mich (WJMN) – A pair of signatures on Monday afternoon, solidified a partnership that will continue for the next 50 years. Bay college and Northern Lights YMCA.

Below is the release from Bay College about the partnership and upcoming projects.

Since first partnering 30+ years ago, the shared vision of Bay College and Northern Lights YMCA always has been to best answer and serve the needs within the community. Entering into a new 50-year agreement Monday, Bay College and the YMCA is setting a bold new course for the decades to come. The updated partnership accommodates the growth both organizations expect to see well into the future.

“The biggest winner here is the community,” Northern Lights YMCA Executive Director Gary Nash said. “Both the YMCA and Bay are here to serve, and this new partnership enhances our relationship so that we can continue to co-exist, plan for the future and strengthen the impact in the community. We couldn’t be more excited.”

Dr Laura Coleman, Bay College President, echoes the strength and excitement of the new partnership. “It is a win-win for the community as both organizations desired more space for their programming while remaining in close proximity.  Prior to the new agreement, Bay College moved workforce development & training, EMT/Paramedic, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and a portion of the Norse athletic programs closer on campus while the YMCA started transitioning to the recently vacated M-TEC building.”

The plan is being funded by a $3 million grant from the Hannahville Indian Community. $1 million of the grant was used to build locker rooms for Bay College Norse athletics; $2M was designated for the YMCA project. Phase 1 of the YMCA project, with a $1.7M price tag, will begin this spring. By fall, YMCA members will have a completely renovated, premier fitness, youth and wellness center.

Construction of a new pool within the new Y facility will occur in Phase 2, following a capital fundraising campaign by the YMCA tentatively set to begin early in 2022 but based on community economic conditions. With this timeline, the new pool would be ready for use no later than 2024. The old YMCA pool will remain in service until completion of the new pool.

Dr Coleman indicated the Bay College Physical Education Center (PEC) will need renovations when the YMCA finishes Phase 1 and 2. This will include utilizing the space currently occupied by the pool. Once the YMCA opens the new pool, the Y will fill the old pool so Bay can continue with planned upgrades.

“We have no doubt that the support necessary for the pool construction will be there,” Nash said, indicating that a quiet capital campaign is already underway and has been met with positive feedback and high levels of excitement. Plans for change have been in the air for some time. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the YMCA announced a $6.5 million expansion plan that would have continued a shared space setup at the current YMCA location. Those plans took a backseat as the pandemic unfolded, and eventually new ideas emerged.

“We were able to reassess, work together and generate some new ideas that truly are working out best for both parties and provide an even more meaningful positive impact for our community” said Nash. “The YMCA is so fortunate to have such a supportive partner in Bay College, and we are thrilled to see our relationship reinforced for the future.”

This new plan allows both Bay and the Y to continue to grow unimpeded. It also provides users with a new facility quicker than the previous plan, and the project comes at a lower overall cost to the YMCA.

“Delta County residents are going to get a much larger and new YMCA, and by being in our own space the possibilities for the future are just about endless,” Nash added.

Gundlach-Champion of Iron Mountain has been commissioned to lead phase 1 of the project. The company recently completed the renovation of Northern Lights YMCA Dickinson Center, transforming the 50-plus year facility into one of the finest YMCAs in the Midwest.

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